Reflections in passing 

Published 6:38 pm Friday, March 6, 2020


Coffee with Mimi

I am breaking one of my self- imposed rules and have begun this column with a first person pronoun.  There it is, right there for all to see. It’s like breaking a New Year’s resolution. It isn’t the end of the world; I will reflect and move on. Truth be told, I may have previously broken my resolve at some point, I just don’t remember.  That could send me off on tangents about advancing age. But, I won’t, yet. I have miscellaneous points to make first.  

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We have navigated through the first two months of a new year in a new decade, somewhat of a milestone. Persnickety folks out there may correct me. There is an argument that a new decade won’t begin until 2021. I don’t care. You tried to get all worked up over the millennium; you see what difference that made in the grand scheme of things.  

I like my decades to have numbers in groups of 10s, with the first number being the same through the entire range of years:  20-29, 30-39, and so forth. But, let’s move along.

Speaking of the new year, this is the year which gives us one extra day.  I have mentioned this cyclical truth before. As far as I am concerned, you can forget it in the future.  I lived the previous three years without the extra day, accomplishing plenty of professional and personal tasks.  

One would think an extra day should be just for the fun of it; it should be a national holiday.  A day to frolic away, a reward for just being alive. Well, you can forget that. This year, in the dead of dark time, we get one more dark and dreary day.  If the ancient Babylonians, Greeks and Romans were so darn smart, why didn’t they figure out a way to put the extra day in the middle of the summer? What a nice way for us to remember those dead civilizations, if they had just rigged the calendar for an extra, possibly sunnier, warmer day.

It could have been really great to have had the extra day to chill after the stressful news cycle. But, the reality is not. We must spend the extra day before the country will exercise its constitutional right or conquer new diseases. My children had to accept the fact that I was a history/government/social studies teacher.  I was determined they would be exposed to historic issues, events and persons. When they were quite young, this exposure played out in sometimes funny ways.  

We had a fish tank. We allowed the children to pick out fish. I know very little about fish of the tropical variety, so I never anticipated consequences in their choices. One year, you can guess which shortly, the children had chosen two attractive specimens and they were lodged in the tank. One was named George Bush and the other was Bill Clinton. They swam around and around, until one day,  Bill Clinton had eaten George Bush — there was evidence. The children were certain which was which. I couldn’t tell much difference between the two, but took them at their word.

Another pair of fish was acquired. One was named George Washington, the other Thomas Jefferson. In the end it turned out George was a Martha.  It could have been that Thomas was Martha, but you get my drift. Whichever the case, both historical namesake pairs had a Martha. The irony was lost on the children, of course. 

My birthday is at the beginning of the year. I usually don’t mind my advancing years. I enjoy my birthday and the extra attention; it beats the alternative. But, this year is the year my life insurance policy is due for renewal. I consider the premium a very small price to pay for providing a little something extra for my children upon my demise. I must brag, (the “I” word again), that my monthly premium is so low, due to my fortunately healthy constitution, it is barely a blip on the checking account. Approaching the renewal date, I was duly informed that my new premium would go into effect on the anniversary date and would be deducted automatically.  Nothing to worry about, same coverage. The new premium was calculated to be 12 times more than the current amount.

There were alternatives. A little searching and I found a nice policy which offered a comparable benefit at a reasonable rate, but which required a quick physical and a blood work-up; no problem, I pass those with flying colors. A technician was dispatched to my office. Forms were filled out with height, weight and medical history. Four attempts were made to draw blood, resulting in a minimal sample which resulted in a less than desirable profile, thus resulting in a higher premium.  

A second technician was scheduled for a better sample. The nice young man was also unsuccessful with the needle. Politely he said he shouldn’t have been the one sent for this draw. The insurance company usually contracts with a particular technician to draw blood from “elderly women.” 

I’m still laughing.