Here's some ugly math I wish I hadn't calculated. It's 2012 and I'm 52 years old. If the Mayans and their silly calendars leave us alone, and I live to be 90, I'll have 38 years left. Thirty-eight years seems like a lot of life remaining...until you think about it. Thirty-eight years ago was 1974. Back in that strange year, I turned 14, learned to play the guitar, listened to ABBA and moped around in my polyester pants and tacky ties whenever I had to dress up for church. I was a nobody in middle school, fighting off acne and sporting greasy long hair just like all the other teens of the era. That was 38 years ago? As painful as 1974 was, it seems like it was only yesterday! I shouldn't be able to remember a span of 38 years this clearly. And I really shouldn't be able to picture the Grim Reaper and polyester pants in the same vision, although the sight of death in a hideous leisure suit is kind of funny.
It's terrifying to think that I can remember 38 years ago. If 38 years ago seems like "only yesterday," then I'm basically saying, "My time is almost up. The next 38 will be over before I know it!" I don't like that line of thought at all. So, I need to change the way I look at things. I'm going to have to find a much shorter period of time that I can't recall at all. Then 38 years will seem infinite! For instance, I have no idea what I had for lunch yesterday. That was just 24 hours ago. There are 332,880 hours in 38 years; more if you add in those mysterious leap days. Thirty-eight years means an eternity of forgotten lunches! And I'm always misplacing my keys. I can put them down, and not know where they are 10 seconds later. There are almost 1.2 billion seconds in 38 years, rounding up, of course. Billions! Now, that's a lot of time for lost keys!
OK. I feel better now. I just won't think about 1974. I'll watch crossing the street and I'll eat my veggies and I'll live to be 90, one misplaced key ring and one forgotten lunch at a time. Now, if I can just forget about the Grim Reaper wearing my plastic suit.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.