Thoughts at Large: 41

• Here, all this time, I thought it was teatotaler.

• I rented a Thrifty rental car a few weeks ago.  The representative at the counter asked me whether I wanted liability insurance for $13.95.  I replied yes, since I thought that $13.95 was a good deal for a five-day rental.  Turns out the cost of the insurance was $13.95 a day and so I spent $56 more for insurance than I intended (otherwise I would have declined).  After I got home, Thrifty sent me an online survey — I told them about my experience and clicked the box to request that a manager contact me about it.  Have I heard from Thrifty?  Of course not.

• My spouse thinks that my recent laptop purchase constitutes a Christmas gift to myself.  I have tried in vain to convince her that the sorry state of my old laptop (low battery life, wobbly screen, screws falling out) justified the purchase as a wear-and-tear replacement rather than a Christmas gift.  Would I be mentioning this had I won that argument?  No.

• I’m eating some Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn — the bag says “best by” 2009. I figure, OK, I was probably best by 2009 too, so we’re even.

• I don’t begrudge Christians, Jews and Muslims their religious holidays.  Hell, we atheists have somewhere around 350 unreligious holidays a year… we need a break now and then from all that celebrating.

• I can identify several instances in my lifetime where the universe has bifurcated, that is, where the path taken vs. the alternate path has had profound consequences.  These events include (1) the 1980 assassination of John Lennon;  (2) the Contract with America enacted by the Republican Congress in 1994;  (3) the USA failure to kill Osama bin Laden in 1998;  (4) the election of George W. Bush in 2000;  (5) the horrific attack by Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001;  (6) the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

• Discussing this list with my daughter-in-law the other day, it dawned on me that all these bifurcations were negative in outcome and that I neglected to mention any positive ones.  So, for the sake of balance, here are a few other, more personal universe-changing events: (1) the day my future wife happened to stroll by and pick me up at the bus stop in 1969;  (2) the births of our children in 1978 and 1981;  (3) meeting a boy named Bill Foster in second-grade (1960), which led to a twenty-year friendship that demanded little from me other than listening, while offering an island of safety and sanity and the assurance that I would not need to compete with the rough-and-tumble playground crowd to be accepted.  I miss Bill.  This universe is a worse place without him.

• Haddock tastes different than halibut in the same way that nonetheless means something different than regardless.  Inconsequential differences among bland alternatives.

• We are going to be treated to a four-year circus in the US.  Let’s hope the tents have been fire-proofed, the lions and tigers have been tamed and the clowns can lead us to the exits.

• Could the likes of Richard Nixon be impeached today?  Probably not.

• My resolution for 2017 is to avoid pontificating on subjects on which I have no expertise.  Should I decide to abide by this resolution, my readers will encounter many blank pages next year.  But should I not, then hooray, business as usual at The 100 Billionth Person.

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One Response to Thoughts at Large: 41

  1. Rob says:

    Always interesting to see your mind at work. Wondering if “best by” and “sell by” dates are interchangeable, in the way haddock and halibut are, or if they represent a major philosophical bifurcation. I rather wince at my “sell by” date.

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