Do you remember the things that were mysteries to you as a child that later became so simple?
One of my memories is about learning to tell time. That, of course, was back in the stone age when all the clocks had two hands on them. Prior to the day my grandpa taught me, I “told time” by saying to an adult, “The big hand’s on the 2 and the little hand’s on the 4.” Do kids still do that today?
Then one day my grandpa called me to his side and asked me if I wanted to learn how to tell time. I was about 5 or 6 at the time.
First he showed me that every time the big hand went around once, the little hand moved just one number. Then he explained about when the big hand was on the 12 it was 2 o’clock or 2 o’clock or whatever depending on where the little hand was. Then he showed me that when the big hand was on the right side, it was “after” and when it was on the left side it was “to.” So when the big hand was on the two it was 10 minutes after and when it was on the nine it was 15 minutes to. It was so clear and simple that I got it immediately, and I have always wondered whether other kids had it explained to them so easily and clearly.
Around the time that I was just a little older, it became necessary to weigh our dog. I remember someone picking him up and then getting on our floor scale. How in the world could they tell how much he weighed when they were standing on the scale with him? It took me several years to figure that out. (I was too shy to ask anyone.)
Years later the mystery of pregnancy solved itself for me. I distinctly remember seeing a lady walking by who had an enormous belly. Suddenly I realized that she must be having a baby. Somehow I had never noticed ladies with big bellies before.
(The other mysteries surrounding pregnancy and all that took several more years for me to find out about — through various street sources, certainly not my parents.)
Nowadays, there aren’t too many more mysteries for me anymore. No matter what it is that I need to know, there is always Google. What a world!
— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer and iconoclast. He is not in the advertising business, but he is a small-business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not represent the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at email@example.com. Click here for previous Paul Burri columns. Follow Paul Burri on Twitter: @BronxPaul