When a person reaches “a certain age,” doctors begin to examine him or her with an eye to senility. One of their tests requires a patient to draw the face of a clock and insert the required numbers. I tend to fail because I prefer hexagonal clocks to round ones and believe that as long as I limit myself to twelve figures, I can select from an infinite array and put them in any order I choose. Needless to say, I play with being institutionalized.
Given my perverse mind, imagine the I belly laugh I received from a news snippet in The Week. (May 11, 2018, pg. 6) English schools are replacing analog clocks with digital versions because young people are no longer familiar with the former. Never mind the expense. I worry about how these youth will cope when they turn 65. Will their failure to draw numbers on the face of a clock lead to the assumption England is suffering a wave of senility? If so, I must point out the country’s passion for cricket tells against them.
Of course, analog clocks aren’t the only casualties of modern life. Reading the headlines of late, I begin to fear the human species is losing its sense of humor. All this flap about Roseanne Barr. Does no one see the absurdity that flows when a woman, suffering all the sedimentary sags that attend middle age, should mock the appearance of another?
Yes, yes, I know. Barr’s remark is racist and therefore reprehensible. But doesn’t her ignorance on the origin of the species warrant a smile, at least? We are all out of Africa if science is to be trusted. Skin pigments evolved when immigrants to northern climes became farmers. Evolution, it seems, favored genes to lighten their skins so that Vitamin D could more readily be absorbed. (“Early Brit was Black,” The Week, Feb 23, 2018, pg. 8.) So what’s in a race but a little less or a little more pigment? Or, as archeologist Tom Booth observes, “These imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions. (Ibid, pg. 8.)
Of course, Booth’s remark boggles my mind, yet again. If race is a modern concept, I’m must ask. Is it analog or digital?
(First published 6/24/2018)