Saturday, August 13, 2011

"PCTR's Salt Point Trail Race - August 13, 2011"

Or the Alternative Title, "Amazing People, Amazing Location, Amazing...Okay, Time To Use Other Adjectives"

I've written dozens of race reports but unfortunately they've all been written in my head while I've been running and I've never managed to actually commit them to writing.  I don't know if that has to do with the fact that I'm usually exhausted and in need of a shower, food, and a nap post-race but today my motivation likely has to do with the fact that I had a Diet Coke at the finish line table at Pacific Coast Trail Runs Salt Point 11k/26k/50k. 

Other than the Go!St. Louis Half Marathon and the Eye-Q Fresno Half Marathon, this is the farthest I've traveled for a race.  It was well worth the drive.  After finally figuring out where the start was because it was 1/2 mile from the parking lot, we assembled in a small parking area looking out over the coast.  Despite the fog, or perhaps as a result of the fog, it was a beautiful race start.  We immediately started a climb that seemed to last forever, and the first two or three miles really felt like I was on a hiking adventure more than participating in a race.  But I settled in with the hiking portion of the program keeping in mind that I do these races not for the speed but for the healthful benefits, the joy of being on trails, and the overall experience.

The first portion of the race was interesting with some very limited single-track trails including bees that apparently went after some of the runners.  For once I managed to dodge that bullet although I did nail my left knee on a huge log while climbing over it, and I'm now sporting a nice goose-egg on my right shin from while hurdling (okay, crawling over) a medium-sized log.  Forgetting my newly acquired boo-boos, the next 6 or 7 miles were beautiful and also oddly unmemorable.  It was all forest-lined trails that I love so much.  That changed after we crossed back over Highway 1.

Suddenly we were running down a dozen or so stairs onto a small beach and then back up the other side to reveal grand cliffs and a spectacular Pacific Ocean in front of us.  I have to say that in terms of the course, from here to the Gerstle Visitor Center parking lot was my favorite part of the course.  I'm happy that I was able to take these pictures before my iPhone battery died.

And that brings me to best part of writing a race report which is reflecting on things that happened before, during and after the race.  Sure, scenery and the accurate course markings and details like that are important.  But the true measure for me of a successful race are the people I met that day.  The best evidence of that today was when I was in my car on the way home when, after driving for about an hour, I finally thought 'huh, I wonder what my official time was?'  I measure the success of a race by the people I met before, during and after the race, not by time or place finished.  If I made a new friend at a race, then no matter what my time was, I came in first.

I think this is because there's a bond on the trails that just can't be found anywhere else, or with anyone else.  I've said it dozens of times and I still believe it; it's a bond between trail runners only.  I presume that many of us found a love of hiking and a joy of running and at some point we found the perfect combination in trail running.  The elevation gains can cause us to walk when we want to run, and the downhill can wreak havoc on our knees, ankles, feet and toes.  We don't shoot for a PR, even against the time we had if we ran this race before; there are too many variables like weather and fallen trees from race to race.  Our pace times for some races can be laughable especially when compared to those from road races.  Coming in last is not something we hope happens, but we sometimes do and it makes no difference because our one true goal was to just to finish.  We don't mind getting dirty or even muddy and in fact, we expect it.  We'll take whatever weather has been dealt us, including the occasional torrential downpour, or hail, or gale force winds.  We prefer not to fall down, but we know it's just a matter of time before we take our first tumble and the road rash (or in this case, the trail rash) is almost considered a badge of honor.  Bee/wasp/hornet stings happen, and getting lost is always in the cards.  And although many may wonder why with all of these negatives we still run trail races, we view these possible pitfalls as the events that make the races interesting and challenging.  We don't view others as competitors but as fellow races.

So to all of the people I met today at PCTR's Salt Point 11k/26k/50k, I have to say thank you.  It was an immense pleasure to run with you even if for just a bit.  And to specific individuals, I have the following to say:

To Lucy - I'm very glad you're okay and I'm really glad you declined my offer to walk back with you to the start.  Your perseverance reminds me that women can be so amazingly tough and I love seeing a young woman with such strong-willed determination.  You rock.

To Daniel - You are an inspiration and I like to think that I'm better person for having met you today.  I love that you've decided to live life 100% and I hope I have half your energy and spirit when I turn 70.  Keep on living the way you do because you fought and earned the right to do so.  I look forward to running with you again and kick ass in Kansas!

To Charles - I was sad when I realized I wouldn't be able to catch up with you at the finish line, but please keep doing what you're doing and remember that in the end you have to do this for yourself and no one else.  If you ever need encouragement in the form of supportive/optimistic words, or even in the form of pessimistic negativity like telling you that you can't do it so you get pissed off and want to prove me wrong, just let me know.  Both methods have their time and place.  I too have been down this road and it sucks.  You've taken the first step and I'm happy to help you continue. 

So, while I slightly digressed from a traditional race report, my overall review of this race was that it rocked.  It was well worth the crazy-long drive and I'm sad that the park will be closing because of the budget.  But when it re-opens, and if PCTR holds this race again, I'll be there.  Why wouldn't I be since today I won this race.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reflections On A Decade

or the alternative title, "Welcome 40s, We’ve Got A Lot Planned So You Might Wanna Hang On!"

I'm 40 years old. There, I said it.

Most don't know it, but turning 40 was tougher than I was wiling to admit and I spent a few days in what I can only describe as a depression. I did discuss this with one friend and told her that it feels almost like a break-up and so I was only going to allow my melancholic mood to last four days; one for each decade now behind me. And sure enough, I was back to my sarcastic, mostly chipper mood on day five.

So now that that's over, I can look back at my 30s with a combination of pride, satisfaction, great joy, great sadness, and most important of all, with a chuckle for some of the uniquely nutty/dumb things I've done that can only be described as Classic Christy. My reflections on the last decade of my life are provided here for your reading pleasure in no a bulleted summary in no particular order.

- After seven years, I left my job at Morgan Stanley, a company from which I never thought I'd leave.
- I started a job at Howard Rice where I thought I'd be for two to three years max. I stayed almost nine.
- I added a person to my platinum circle which anyone who really knows me knows that you’d be more likely to win the lotto than get added to this circle. I hope Gail finds Meghan and Jessica to be good company because this is an honored position. Anyone who can call Gail their friend should consider themselves one of the luckiest people to ever walk this Earth. Trust me, it’s the truth.
- I graduated from both law school and business school although I didn't attend either of the graduation ceremonies.
- I bought a condo and found out that it can be both stressful and expensive to be a homeowner while it can also provide an comforting sense of home.
- Along the same line, I spent the first couple of years remodeling during which I managed to paint the teeny-tiny bathroom 11 times and the bedroom 8 times.
- I've painted every wall (including the 12-foot ceilings), stripped a wall worth of horrible grasscloth wallpaper, and ripped off 80% of the baseboards. I’ve replaced most of the baseboards and hope to finish the rest sometime before I turn 50.
- I've killed countless plants.
- I’ve learned a lot about landscaping.
- I bought my fourth car and it lasted me longer than all the cars before. I loved my VW Passat and I still miss it.
- I bought a shitty new car. What car you ask? A 2009 Toyota Camry. I’d write more, but I’m still completely pissed that I didn’t go with my instinct and buy another Volkswagen. I’ll never buy anything but a German car again.
- I bought my shitty Camry from an even shittier dealership in Redwood City. Toyota 101 is so sleazy that I’m shocked they can do business the way they do. I hope they go bankrupt.
- I learned cake decorating.
- I painted/created the artwork hanging in my house.
Barbara, my rock.
- I was adopted by an amazing woman who I proudly consider as a second mother. If, on the scale of 1 to 100 measuring how much she means to me, my own biological Mom ranks a 100, then Barbara ranks a 99.5. She’s just as much of a cheerleading and friend and support system as my mom. I can’t remember what my life was before here and I most definitely don’t want to think about what it will be like after she’s gone.

My wonderful monsters,
Lola and Gigi
- I became a mom!! Okay, I became a mom to two obnoxious, untrained, spoiled rotten little dogs. God I love them! Just like with Barbara, I can’t remember what life was like before them and I try everything not to think about what it’ll be like after their gone. They’re my heart and my soul.

- In the last 10 years, I was blessed with a total of five four new nephews and one beautiful little niece. While two of the nephews were gained through marriage, they are still 100% my nephews. Tyler, Trevor, Jack, Thomas and Olivia, I love them with all my heart and while we aren’t often physically near to each other, they are always close in my heart.
- I was also super-duper blessed with five godchildren, three of which are included in the niece/nephew count from the previous bullet, but all of which were born within eight days of each other. Jack, Kayleigh, Alexandra, Thomas and Olivia are my heart.
- Although a bit of a surprise and coming in under the 40th birthday wire, I was blessed again with two adorable great-nephews. I look forward to getting to know them better in the coming years.
- I said good-bye to one the most important people in my life, and even now, more than six years later, I still miss my Dad. In my head I’ve written volumes ready to pour all of them into this post. But as I sit here trying to write this, I think less is more. I love you Daddy; I always will.

Daddy and his little girl
- For the second time since high school, I fell in love. Together we were perfect, but being together was also the problem. He is, and always will be, a free spirit that can’t settle in one place and nothing that can change that. Unfortunately, loving him finally proved to me that love truly can’t conquer all. And don’t ask; I’m not going to discuss it. Move on.
Yep, I have this much fun at every race...
well, almost every race
- In the fall of 2009, I started running again after many, many years except this time I discovered the zany world of racing and kept running races until I ran a 38 races for a total of 422.375 miles until my 40th birthday in May 2011. I ran each of those 38 races with three main goals: (1) don’t get lost; (2) don’t come in last; and (3) don’t fall down. I ran one race and got lost. I ran another race and came in last. I ran yet another race and fell down. At least I didn’t fail all of my goals in the same race, and I still had fun during every one of those races.
- I completed a marathon. It may have taken me almost 5-1/2 hours, but I got it done. Yay for me.
- I made a new friend who loves running races although I met Jenni on a camping trip with a local hiking group. Just goes to show that you never know what’s gonna happen.
- I had the brilliant idea to lighten my hair to see what I would look like as a blond. After 6 hours sitting in the stylist’s chair, my hair was a medium red/brown and was on the verge of falling out because of excessive damage. I had very thin, fine hair to begin with and after this, I thought I was going to have to start researching either implants, extensions, or wigs. Seriously.

Obviously the above is not even close to an exhaustive list, but the highlights above all lead to the most important event that came out of my 30s. Over those 10 years, the above events combined with every other thing that I experienced helped me learn and grow and become who I am today. The greatest realization I had when I turned 40 (following my 4 days of mourning) was that I am the most confident, most self-assured that I have ever been in my life. I’m happy with who I am as a person and as a woman, and that was probably the best gift I could have gotten for my birthday. Do I wish I had had this confidence when I was growing up?  Oh hell yeah! But I also know that I couldn’t have that kind of confidence because that can only be realized after having the experiences I’ve had; it’s the result of everything I’ve done and everyone that has come into my life. I’m the way I am now because of who I was during my first 30 years on this earth.

And as I sit here on B-Day plus 42, the mourning of my 30s past is slowly but surely starting to be replaced with looking to the future and planning my next wild and most definitely wacky adventures. Skydiving, here I come!

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Monday, October 11, 2010

“We Pay a Person the Complement of Acknowledging His Superiority Whenever We Lie to Him” - Samuel Butler

or the alternative title, “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!”

As far back as I can remember, I've noticed.  I've noticed people, places, and things.  I've noticed events, actions, and movements.  I've noticed sights, sounds, and colors.  I've noticed faces, expressions, and looks.  And I've noticed truths, half-truths, and inconsistencies.  In sum, I've noticed lies.

This skill, or whatever you'd like to call it, is something that I have never admitted to having and I play down how much I truly notice.  To be honest, I often play dumb because for whatever reason it’s sometimes just easier.  Those who truly know me already know this.  But someone who doesn't know me (or thinks they know me when they really don't) thinks that I can be told a lie and I'll never find out.  Fool.

I'm sure you've already figured out that someone lied to me.  And I'm sure you've already figured out that I knew it was a lie.  You might think that this post is a rant about how angry I am, but it really isn't.  Actually, if I had to quantify my feelings I would say that I'm roughly 30% angry and 70% disappointed.  And if I were to further subdivide the 30% angry portion, it would be 10% angry that this person didn't trust me enough to tell me the truth, 10% angry that this person lied to me about something so trivial, and 10% angry because lying about something that's so easily verified insults my intelligence!  Allow me to explain in graph format:

The disappointment portion is the part that really hurts because I knew this person was lying to me at the time the lie was being told.  On top of that, I’m also disappointed because I was being lied to about something that was so insignificant and unimportant; if this person had told me the truth it wouldn't have mattered one bit.

The disappointment proportion is also made up of some of the same insulting-my-intelligence part that was included in the 30% angry portion.  Why would someone who knows that I'm pretty smart and knows that I'm at least fairly observant think that I wouldn't know I was being lied to?  The obvious answer is that this person wanted to be caught.  But, knowing this person as I do, I really don't think that's the case.  Instead, I think this person was just being lazy and it was easier just to use the first lie that came to mind.  The fact that the truth was so easily verified had nothing to do with choosing the lie.  So, in fact my intelligence was insulted not only because it was a dumb lie to tell because verification was a mouse-click away, but also because this person was too lazy to even try to tell a decent lie to me.

And so my friends, once again my inner battle between having a more positive view of the world (or at least a less negative one) and the belief that people suck was made more difficult. 

But soon after the above disappointing event, I met someone whose gentleness and humility has helped make that positive view of the world so much easier to see...

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Friday, August 6, 2010

“How Have I Displeased You, Oh Car Gods?”

or the alternative title, "My New Car Is A Piece Of Crap"

Okay, so the title alternative title isn't very creative but it conveys what I feel better than any other clever play on words that I could imagine. I hate my new Toyota Camry. But I'm trying to get my bitching over with and just live with it until I can trade it in for a proper German car.

So to be succinct (at least as much as I can be), I'm simply going to list my reasons (and a little commentary) for hating that hunk of junk:

1. It's wimpy and has zero power.  I redlined it getting on the freeway on an onramp that's really short. It's an automatic!!!

2. It's an automatic!!!  I use to have a connection with my cars; we worked together in a quiet synchronicity that only those with manual transmissions would understand.  That's gone now...sigh.

3. The suspension is mushy and the handling is like trying to swim in pea soup.  The last 5 miles of my commute are on a windy road through the Oakland hills and I LOVED driving it in my Passat. Now it’s a chore; I’d almost prefer sitting in the freeway traffic but that would prolong sitting in the piece of crap by about 15-20 minutes.

4. The brakes are scary and if you apply the slightest amount of pressure to them the seatbelt locks up. If you push the gas in too much too fast, the seatbelts lock up.  The accelerating thing wouldn't be a problem except the windows are tinted and I have to turn my head a little more to merge but I can't lean forward because the seatbelt has locked up! 

(And as a side note, I had to return it to the dealership after having it for a whole week because the steering column was shaking when you applied pressure to the brakes. I already knew the problem was the rotors but I didn’t tell them I knew that. They said they replaced the brakes and rotors even though they told me that they didn’t find anything wrong. Bullshit.)

4. The antenna is useless.  Some of the San Francisco radio stations don’t come in very well WHEN I’M IN SAN FRANCISCO! Now don’t start with the whole it-depends-on-where-the-transmission-tower-is-thing (yeah, I saw that episode of WKRP in Cincinnati too!) because I don’t care. It was never a problem in my VWs so what’s the problem with this car?

5. The seats are uncomfortable and the headrest is tilted so far forward that I can’t wear a ponytail with a plastic clip; I can only wear a rubberband type ponytail holder otherwise I get a stiff neck.  Yes, it’s adjustable, but I’ve adjusted it as far as it’ll go. I’ll bet you money that the group of Toyota designers didn’t include any women.

Yes, I could continue. But I’ll spare everyone the pain since most have heard me bitch since the day I picked up the car. So this post will be the last time I complain about it. Given that, did I mention that I hate this car? Allow me to repeat: I HATE MY NEW CAR!

I have to admit that I’m also a little tired of people asking “well then why did you buy it?” I bought it because I was tired of hearing the noises in the front-end of my Passat getting louder and louder. And while it may not be an issue for most, I was completely done worrying about breaking down and the realization that I don’t have that one person who I can call and know that they’ll drop everything to pick me up. I know that I could call either of my two brothers, or my Mom or a variety of friends, but I don’t know if they’re at work, in a meeting, at home or away on vacation or whatever. While yes I have people I can call, I don’t know if it’ll take one call or ten calls to various folks to see who is able to come and get me. And unfortunately, that’s a long way from the security of knowing exactly who to call and that they’re in their car at a moment’s notice.

There, I admitted it. Stop asking.

Bottomline is that I wish I could love this car, but the cons completely outweigh the pros. And the bummer is that I used to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to drive but now my Camry is just a vehicle that can get me from point A to point B.

I can’t wait to trade in this piece of crap…

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Monday, August 2, 2010

"Ponder This"

or, the alternative title "Whoa, That's Way Deep.  Cool.  Wait...What?"

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were sitting on my couch imbibing in wine (and stuff) and our conversation took a very deep, philosophical turn. Yeah, it surprised the hell out a me too.  But I decided to put this out there for all to ponder.

The question I pose to the four people who actually read this is: if we as humans abide by certain moral and/or ethical rules, prohibitions, standards, or whatever you'd like to call them, does the reason you abide by a particular rule matter, or does the reason not matter so long as you abide by the rule? Allow me to provide an example.

It's well established that murder is wrong. I think we can all agree on that setting aside any of the outlying arguments about abortion, capital punishment, justifiable homicide in self-defense, etc. But why don't we murder?  I would argue that most people would respond by saying that the taking of another human's life is morally and ethically wrong and contrary to acceptable societal rules. But what if the sole reason we don't kill others is solely because of the consequences; we're afraid of getting caught?

The question then is if it's morally wrong to kill a person, does it matter the reason?  Is it wrong that we don't kill someone because the reason doesn't follow moral guidelines?  Or, does the reason not matter; only the result or lack of a result in this case?  I argue that the reason doesn't matter if the end result is the same. 

My friend was surprised that I took the position that so long as people abide by basic human moral and/or ethical rules then why they abide by those rules is irrelevant.  I didn't think there was anything about which to be surprised.  The bottom line is that no matter the reason, the outcome is the same: a human being doesn't die.  To the potential dead  guy, I don't think the reason would matter either so long as that person gets to remain alive.

So there you have it folks, the outcome of a bizarre conversation is an open-ended question of what I would consider moral philosophy.  Hopefully I've finally given y'all a post that gives food for thought instead of posts about dead salamanders and decades old paper clips.  Just don't expect this kind of deep thought will happen too would start hurting my brain if I had to think that much.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

“What’s Up? I’ll Tell You What’s Up!”

Or, the alternative title, “The Company That Shall Not Be Named"

Yes, I know, it’s been waaaaaay too long since my last post. But quit your nagging already – I’ve been busy! And while I have a few more posts in the early stages of drafting, this post is generally about my new job. So, hang onto your hats because we’re about to go on a journey of discovery filled with amazing adventure…okay, not really. It’s mainly just me blathering on and on about nothing in particular. You might want to get a strong cup of coffee first.

Eleven weeks ago I started my new job at a company that everyone knows if they have a credit card. The odd thing is that technically I can’t identify the company because of our internal policies. And it doesn’t look good if I identify the company in violation of our company policies considering I’m in the legal department; more specifically, I’m a member of the privacy office. Yeah, that wouldn’t be good. While I’m sure that this is just me being a little tight-assed about company policies (which is ironic given my self-described moral flexibility in other areas of my life), I still would hate to be made an example if this became a bigger issue. So, let’s just say that I now work for the company whose little four-letter brand is on many, MANY credit cards around the world. For ease of this blog, I shall henceforth refer to my employer as “The Company” which sounds far more ominous and mysterious than it really is…trust me.

I have to admit that my first couple of weeks were more frustrating than anything. The number of meetings was overwhelming and prevented me from doing a lot of the projects I was assigned. The other enormous obstacle was not knowing the terminology or the acronyms or peoples’ names even. The question “what the hell have I done?!” came into my head more than once during those first days and I kept asking myself if I should have even made this move. Most people who are not in the legal field have no idea what a big change this was; I went from doing securities litigation at a law firm to working inhouse doing corporate privacy law. It’s a 180° change that most people don’t make. To be honest, I didn’t realize that until I finished my first week.

But slowly the meetings decreased and while I don’t know all of the terminology or acronyms or names yet, I am slowly but surely learning and getting to a more comfortable place. So, given all of that back-story, here are a few of my observations:

1. Not being required to bill time rocks! No more worrying that I spent too much time talking to the department’s admin about shoes and how that’s going to negatively impact my billable hours! (Yes, at first glance that seems like an inefficient use of time, but as a new person in the department it’s a good idea to get to know people – especially an admin whose been with The Company for 22 years. She knows where the bodies are buried and how to work the system.)

2. Holy crap, I work for the nicest people in the world and it’s a little creepy! For the first month I kept thinking that no one could be that nice and that there had to be a catch or maybe this was really a test or maybe there was a hidden camera or maybe I was the subject of a Twilight Zone episode. This week, my boss brought me a bottle of maple syrup from his vacation in New Hampshire. I mean come on – how many bosses bring their staff a souvenir?!? Oh how law firm life jaded me so…

3. I’ve never seen so much bureaucracy and red tape in my entire professional career! I needed to request access to get a profile to be able to sign up to access the office supplies system so I could order post-its. Argh.

The last notable observations all involve The Company’s desire to be green. Simply put, the bathrooms freak me out…

4. The toilets are the kind that automatically flush. Unfortunately, the auto toilets have a mind of their own and they keep flushing while you’re trying to pull your pants up. I feel like I’m being rushed.

5. The toilets also flush with such an insane amount of force and is so loud that I worry about the decibel level causing irreparable hearing loss. That would be one weird workers’ comp claim for sure.

6. All five of the toilet seat covers in the women’s restroom are loose. The toilet seats in stalls one and four are particularly loose to the point of falling off so I avoid those stalls if at all possible. Again, that would be a weird workers’ comp claim.

7. The automatic towel dispensers are haunted. After one towel comes out, I’ll take it and start wiping my hands. But then suddenly it dispenses more! Do I take it and use more paper towel than I really need even though my hands are still a little wet?!? Oh the moral dilemma facing is overwhelming! Okay, I’ll take the towel. But then suddenly it dispenses more even though I’m not standing anywhere near the sensor! What madness has possessed the towel dispenser?!? It’s like the devil is trying to push me to the dark, wasteful side by tempting me with more paper towels. Weird.

So, that’s about it for now. And don’t worry, there will be more very Christy-esque (a.k.a. odd and of no importance) posts. There are just too many weird thoughts, ideas and observations swirling around in my head not to put them written form.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

"A Little Something About Something Little"

or, the alternative title, "So Now What Do I Do With These Things?"

WARNING! WARNING! It's another strange post that tells you about what goes through my warped brain. And it starts with a little back story that goes a little something like this...

For many years, a rather wealthy widow (who I'll call Nana) lived in a large home on an even larger piece of property in Brookdale, a small town in the Santa Cruz mountains. During the war, Nana was one of the many people around the country who answered a request from the USO to open their homes to soldiers returning from the war who had to layover in various places including the Bay Area.. The 70+ soldiers who passed through Nana’s home from August 1944 through November 1945 left a little bit of themselves in Brookdale by jotting down a short note of appreciation, and in most cases, a home address in a plain bound daytimer. In the case of two of those soldiers, they each left a photograph paperclipped in the daytimer.

Sixty-four years later, in January of this year, that same daytimer was found by me and my loving, adopted second mother (we'll call her Beezy) as we sorted through the personal effects of her 97 year old father who had passed away (RIP Kenny, the world was a brighter place with you in it). Beezy and I thought it was one of the greatest treasures ever found since she lived through the war, and I've always been fascinated with it. Together we decided that we should try to track down as many of the names in the daytimer and send them a copy of their entry (no, we haven't quite figured out what the accompanying letter is going to say - we haven't gotten that far).

Here's where the sappy sentimental part takes a turn for the weird...

About a month ago I was copying the daytimer pages and I realized that the two small, partly rusted metal paperclips would eventually leave rust marks both on the photos and the pages. I replaced them with plastic clips. Just as I was about to toss the them in the garbage can, I thought "holy smokes! These paperclips are at least 67 years old!". Expanding on this weird realization, I thought that it was totally cool that I actually knew the age of these two paperclips!

If you think about it, it's not impossible to know the age of a single paperclip that you’re holding in your hand. But you have to admit that it’s not likely that you know its age. As far as dating a paperclip, it can’t be more than 108 years old since that little marvel we know modernly as a paperclip only invented in 1899 by the Norwegian inventor, John Vaaler. His invention was first patented in 1899 in Germany and Vaaler received the American patent in 1901. So anyone can at least argue that a particular paperclip is less than 108 years old.

On the flip side, you are likely to be able to look at the package of clips sitting in your desk drawer that you personally bought new and state with certainty that you know roughly how old it is. If you bought the package 1 year, 4 years, or however many years ago, you can be reasonably certain that every paperclip in that package is as old as however many years ago you bought it.

I also have no doubt around the country and the world even there are various museums that may, for example, have papers being held together with a paperclip that were drafted by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. Yes, in that case you would likely be able to state that the paperclip is at least 99 years old. But that’s in a museum, and this story derives from some unspectacular event in the normal course of living our lives.

The bottom line is that in the here and now, I can say with a high degree of certainty that these two insignificant paperclips are almost seven decades old. How cool is that?!

Now, I wish this were leading into some great social commentary about society's descent into a self-absorbed disposable society where material goods are often discarded not because they are no longer useful but simply because they are old. But no, that’s not the point.

Nor is this story leading to a reflection on the war itself and the amazing soldiers who fought for freedom against one egomaniacal nutjob and his dreams of tyranny and oppression. But nope, that’s also not the point.

Nor is this a commentary on how this daytimer and its contents came to exist during a vastly different time with different people and my own cynical belief that, if asked by the USO to extend the same offer to soldiers returning home from war, American citizens would not extend the same kindnesses to unknown soldiers fighting for our country. And no, that’s still not the point.

(Okay, well maybe there was a little social commentary in there)

While this post is truly just about two small paperclips that gave me pause and made me smile (and of course gave me a strange blog subject), maybe the point was to just to give you a wacky story that made you think ‘huh, weird.’ Or maybe at the end of all of this you're only question is what happened to those two paperclips? Don’t worry because I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out. They’re sitting safely in that section of my jewelry box where I’ve thrown various odds and ends like single earrings, backings from long since gone earrings, screws, and the occasional odd button from a shirt I probably don't have anymore. And in 50 years if you stumble across two small, slightly (or possibly completely) rusted paperclips while sorting through my lifetime of crap, I hope you remember this little story and just pause to think about where those paperclips came from and that they meant a little something to me. At the very least, I hope you smile with the realization that by those two paperclips are now more than 117 years old.

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