By now everyone knows that I am a nerd, geek, possessed of the curse of a pretty indelible memory - which can be a curse more than it is a blessing. It is said that elephants never forget. I have been called one, more than once...
I remember every fat-related insult on the school playground, all of the times I was picked last on a team (almost always), each party I was not invited to, and each time that I was turned down for a date in my teens and 20s (and there were a great many) as though they were yesterday. Mix that with a hyper-type-A personality and you have a fair picture of some of my more major character warts and foibles. Selective amnesia would be far better; it is not how I'm wired.
Growing up this way made for more than a little loneliness as you might imagine:
My memory came to be a family asset growing up. It was the heyday of post-war highway construction and we would take road-trips. Mom could never read a map nor handle the spatial gestalt of relating the map to the view through the windshield. Dad would glance at a map and toss it into the back seat. My parents contend that this is how I learned to read, courtesy of AAA and Rand McNally. I was 2, 3, 4 years old. We would go places like Cape Cod.
During those years, I began to collect maps and to memorize them. I still have many of them. I looked out the window and memorized every sight and road sign. Quickly I became the indispensable family asset and possessed of navigational insights borne of knowledge of all those new interstate highways (told you I was a nerd, right?). Aunts and uncles would call and ask to speak to me, asking questions like whether they finally finished I-95 through Providence Rhode Island or whether it was better to stick with old US Route 1. I knew the answers and would advise them.
Well when my younger sister came along I was 5 years old. She was and remains the opposite of me in every respect. Social butterfly, party animal and prone to instant car-sickness. So those long-distance automotive odysseys came to be measly three-hour annual jaunts to the nearest beach...
U.S. Route 50 offered far less excitement to this young navigator, but I made the most of the sights that provided themselves:
What was particularly cool was the sign that one sees overhead, leaving Ocean City westbound, regarding the western terminus of the same highway:
Now only with the internet have I learned that in Sacramento, they have the same theme going, in reverse:
They actually have two, and they do not match! (Are Californians dyslexic?)
Now I ask. Who but me would even think to Google this stuff? Over the years I also have visited my childhood friend, US Route 50, in various other locales:
Perhaps my now some have guessed the recurrent theme of this blog. Stepped on our frenemy the scale this morning (cramp in my still-injured leg awakened me early) and found that I now am down a full 50 lbs since I joined Spark in late December. Hard to believe, but numbers are numbers. Roughly 8.5 lbs a month or 2 lbs a week. Progress occurs in fits and starts, with some frustrating plateaus to challenge ye olde attitude, but it occurs. Spark works, for me, and I believe for many.
Was it not Casey Kasem who used to say as his tag line on American Top 40, "Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Keep Reaching for the Stars?" So I'm taking square aim on the next 50 lbs!
So I Googled some things that weigh 50 lbs. Two 25-lb sacks of potatoes, one under each arm, seemed like cheating. Here are a few others:
or (loaded with clothes and supplies for a month or two at sleep-away camp):
So how was this possible? All 293 of you certainly contributed! But the real answer for me lies in the hyperlink below!: