I count everything. Someone told me once it was because I'm O.C.D.. Really, I hate to disillusion them, but seriously doubt my sister knows what O.C.D. is.
I'm sure not going to get into a legal discussion about words and acronyms with a lawyer, but I am still going to beg to differ with her. After all, it isn't my fault I count everything.
It's Ben Franklin's.
Well, maybe not, but then again, maybe it is. Either way, it sounds good to me, and OH! so liberating to be able to blame someone else for my short-comings. Seriously, though: who was it that said, "A penny saved is a penny earned."? So far as I recall, I was told it was Ben. So he gets the blame.
Not that I really remember much any more. I'm getting so short-memoried I had to count the wood pile twice today. Dang, that takes a while and I missed my beer call.
Of course, if you, Dear Reader, and I met at a party, I'd remember your face- cuz I have a photographer's eye for structure and lighting- but I'd probably forget your name. And, then, don't tell me your phone number cuz I'll never forget it.
Case in point...
Around two or three hundred years ago, I had the good fortune to be accidentally invited to attend a party for a Young Blood heading to O.C.S. (that's acronym for Over the China Seas). Being the Good Trooper I was, and since he was my best friend, I felt obliged to go, so I did.
I'm not O.C.D., but I am kind of a wall flower around women. Like, if they knew how absolutely terrified I am of having to even talk to one, they'd die laffing. But I digress... on with the party.
Being from a beer drinking background, I naturally gravitate to whiskey, good sour mash preferred. Or a really tall snifter of Hennesy over a chunk of ice. Anyway, there was a lot of beer and not much whiskey to be had at the party, so I drank beer spiked from a bottle of Jim Beam, parked my slim butt beside a potted plant and began to be ignored. Which was fine with me. If they can't see me, they won't talk to me.
Umm, well, kinda.
There was this strawberry blond- we'll call her Dawn, but I didn't know that til later- whose hair hung to her shoulders and just bubbled like CO2 in a glass of Sprite every time she laughed. And she laughed a lot! From what I could see, she was the life of the party and all the guys wanted to dance with her. Owww- being single then, like now, I have to say her hair wasn't all that bubbled. Watching her dance was like watching sharks at feeding time... they were all around her.
Alas, as they tend to, the party came to and end sometime or other and people began wandering off.
Except me: I was hiding beside the potted plant when Dawn started donning her jacket and was beset by - we'll call him Craig, for lack of better name- who decided he wanted to see more of Dawn. So, as most bold guys do, he helped her into her jacket by pulling his on while he asked her for her phone number.
She must have thought he was really very chivalrous and kind, a Lord of the Manor, because she told him her phone number. Then left to wend her merry way home.
But I digress...we were talking about Ben Franklin.
Or, rather, I was. You're just listening. (C'mon- pretend a minute, OK?)
When you were growing up, didn't your Mom and Dad tell you that, "A penny saved is a penny earned"? So we learn to count our pennies. It's only natural to want to know how much we've earned. It teaches us so much about our future worth.
Or how about when your Dad loaned his tools to the guy down the road and the fella sez, "I'll bring it right back." Later, telling Mom about it, Dad sez, "If I had a nickel every time he told me that, I'd be rich." So didn't you start counting the nickels you got, waiting for the day you were rich?
Like with the Dark Lord these days: if we had a nickel for every time he said "Change," we'd be able to clear the national debt. Or if every time he muttered an "Ummm..." or "errr..." or "I mean..." every time he was asked a serious question, we really could buy every American a home.
And the first time you had to eat your spinach and complained about it cuz we all know what spinach tastes like, even with salt and pepper. Then Mom, bless her for trying to help, told us to, "Count your blessings for having spinach to eat because there are little children in Africa starving for spinach."
Of course we all thought, and if dumb enough, as I was, to say aloud, "Then send it to the kids in Africa." We got the remark again: "Count your blessings and shut up." (Which usually meant it would be a blessing if Dad didn't take off his belt and snap it a few times. Usually across the posterior section of our anatomy.)
Then, as used to be the case when young men reached a certain age in their development, they got a greeting from some strange Uncle they'd never met and he invited them to come eat Spam with him for a while. Usually just a couple years. In some instances, the dumber of the young men actually signed for a ticket to visit this weird Uncle on purpose! DUH!
But just think of it- recall, if you will- those wondrous days when a young man, or woman, could learn they were "Screwing up by the numbers" their whole lives and didn't even know it! So here we go again, learning to count in a whole new fashion: by the numbers!
Now, if that doesn't beat all, don'tcha know? Who'd'a thunk there was more than one way to count? Or to screw things up? Gosh. Golly. Gee, Batman!
Ever wonder why troops yell "GeronimoooOOO!!" when disembarking airplanes at altitude?
It's because the Jump Master told them to. Of course, he had a reason for it even if the troop was unaware of it. Yelling "GeronimoooOOO" takes three seconds. One. Two. Three. Counting, again. If the chute wasn't deployed, then the troop would know who to cuss on the way down.
You got it: Geronimo.
Isn't that just wonderfully wonderful? Or, as we say in the bunker, Suh-weeeeeet!
So there you have it: why I count everything. It's all Ben's fault and I am going to be adamant about it. He's the culprit!
Oh- yes. Almost forgot (toldja my memory's going).
As it turned out, Craig deployed to O.C.S the same day Dave did, so he never got to use the number he'd written down.
A few weeks later, the phone rang and I asked for "Dawn".
"Hello, who are you?" she asked.
"This is Jim. You gave me your number a few weeks ago at a party," I told her.
"I never gave you my phone number!" she insisted.
"Yes, you did," I assured her. "I was standing by the potted plant when Craig asked for it and you gave it to him."
"But I didn't give it to you!" she insisted.
"Well, not directly..." I told her. "But I did hear you tell him."
"And you wrote it down?" she wanted to know.
"No, of course not," I told her. "I wanted to date you so bad I remembered it."
She laughed and laughed and was still laughing when I picked her up that evening to help me celebrate an up-coming flight.
See? I'm not O.C.D.... I'm devious!
Bless God, God bless.