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Ladies first by (4 Stories)

Prompted By Manners

/ Stories

I held the door for her

One manner I learned as a young boy was “Ladies first.”  A gentleman always opens the door for a lady, and follows her in.  When my family went out for dinner, I always opened the door for my mother.  This was the 1960s.

In college one weekend night I had a date for a movie.  After the movie, my date and I went to a local deli for dessert.  As we approached the deli entrance, I held the door for her.  She looked at me askance, as if to say, “What are you doing?”  This was 1970 or 71.

Times do change.


Health, education, and welfare by (4 Stories)

Prompted By Inequality

/ Stories

Health, education, and welfare: equality is improving, but progress is uneven.

Health (life expectancy). Since 1900 global life expectancy more than doubled and is now above 70 years. Inequality is still large across/within countries. The Central African Republic’s life expectancy is 53 years; Japan’s: 83.

Education (literacy). World literacy increased from 21% in 1900 to more than 86% now.  All countries outside Africa (except Afghanistan) have literacy rates above 50%. Burkina Faso, Niger, and South Sudan have literacy rates below 30%.

Welfare (income). Whether inequality is rising or falling depends on where, when, and what aspect of inequality we consider. Consumption is becoming more equal, but the share of income of the top 1% rose from 7 to 20% in the last 25 years.


Two haircuts by (4 Stories)

Prompted By Haircuts

/ Stories

First haircut.  My mother gave me a mohawk haircut to play a native American in a Cub Scout play.  This was in the 1950s, nothing was PC; my knowledge of native Americans was from cowboy TV.  It was not a real mohawk; the sides were trimmed, leaving longer hair in a 2″ strip on top.

Second haircut.  After arriving in Cambridge to begin college, I felt compelled to get a haircut.  My hair was not long, shorter than my New Hampshire roommate’s, and why I thought cutting was needed escapes me.  I did not get another haircut for a long time.


Time stopped by (4 Stories)

/ Stories

April 9, 2020.  Morning moonset across lake with dog.

Time stopped. We stepped out.

No in-person meetings.  No air travel.  No car trips to Glacier Park.  No other park trips.  No parties.

Plenty of dog walks.  Plenty of wood chopping.  Plenty of crossword puzzles.  Plenty of @numbulary Twitter posts.

Plenty of orange juice.  Plenty of coffee.  Plenty of tea.  Plenty of toast.  Plenty of cookies.  Plenty of ice cream.

Some grocery store trips.  Some hardware store trips.  Some books.  Some newspapers.  Some jigsaw puzzles.

A few family visitors.  A few small gatherings with friends.  Only a few.

Time stopped.  We stepped out.  Ready to step back in?