Random Thoughts

Thoughts while shaving

... can you relate?

by Jim Tierney

How often have you heard, “Just a second, please”. The second is UP already!!! ...OR...“Just a minute, please” is not much different. WHO gets back to you within a minute?...OR...“I’ll be right with you”...OR...“Give me a moment”...OR...“I’ll get to it soon”...OR...“I’ll do that right away”…My son has been “rearranging” the stuff he left here when he moved out several years ago, labeling things according to future plans for it. Some of the boxes were labeled ‘right away’. I asked him what he means by ‘right away’. He said, ‘sometime within the next year or so’. Silly me, I thought ‘right away’ meant immediately. Oops, now I need immediately, quickly, and instantly redefined for me.  

The word 'couple' is pretty simple to understand. Right! i.e., two, a pair, etc, but what is a ‘few’? The dictionary says, ‘not many, a small number’. Hello!...what does that tell me…AND, what is several? The dictionary says, ‘more than two but not many’. How does that differ from a few? AND, how do you think ‘many’ is defined?... ‘some large indefinite number’. A lot?... ‘a great number or amount’. Some?... ‘a certain unexpected quantity’. Numerous?... ‘great number, very many’. You would think that, through the years, someone could have defined these words better, if they could do it for ‘couple’. Unfortunately, it goes on ...and on…and…on …group, cluster, band, collection, etc. There is no “definite definition”.

What about basic measurements?...cooking recipes, for instance...should be easy enough, right!...a cup of this, teaspoon or tablespoon of that, etc. However, what about my Cousin Annie’s Irish bread, my wife Barbara’s strudel and crescents, and Sue Green’s lemon thing. Even Annie’s children couldn’t make it like Annie because Annie’s pinch of this and a handful of that, is very different from anyone else, and can’t be measured. Obviously, it’s the size of her fingers and hands. Barbara uses the proper measuring tools so hers is more of a mystery, although it could be the texture of the brown paper (paper bag) the strudel and crescents are laid out on. Sue Green’s?...could be a geographic or cultural thing because she’s from Ohio.

If I walked up to you and said, “Hi, I’m your third cousin, twice removed.” Would you have any idea who I was or how we’re related? You’re not alone. We hear it at family gatherings and even though we may have had it explained, we still didn’t understand it. VERY briefly, YOU are FIRST cousin to your mother or father’s sister or brother’s son or daughter…and your FIRST cousin’s kids are your SECOND cousins, “once removed”, meaning that there’s a generation gap between you and your FIRST cousin’s kids…because their great-grandparents are your grandparents. Extending this to the NEXT generation, your SECOND cousin’s kids are your THIRD cousins, “twice removed”…because of a SECOND generation skip, and another generation ”removed”…because your THIRD cousin’s great-great grandparents are YOUR grandparents. GOT IT! ... NOW do you know who I am?

July 3, 2009

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