The Earth goes spinning through space, carelessly ticking off the days with each revolution, and follows its trajectory – meanwhile...I go careering, headlong, out of control into the future…
Another few hundred million miles and I will have completed my 50th free ride round the sun.
There are things that come pretty high up on my list of hated things. One of them is the sacroilliac nerve….never have a back…another is impatient motorists on German highways and a new member of my list-of-hated-things is 50th birthdays…and the fact that you are subsequently “in your fifties” UGH!!!
Actually, being 49 is a bit of a pain too - I mean, what is the point of being 49? It is a complete waste of time - you might as well just be 50 and get it done with.
Now, I don’t really admire much of what the French have given to the world either, be it wobbly-voiced singers or frog-leg dinners… but I could make an exception for their counting system.
Most languages I know have a relatively straightforward way of counting. You have units up to ten and then names for the multiples of ten until you reach a hundred - you know; thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and so on.
Well the French found that too complicated perhaps or rather too simple so they have words for the tens up to sixty and then whoever was inventing the language gave up – perhaps he hopped out for a frog-leg lunch and never came back – anyway, the French count normally - until they get past sixty nine. Then the confusion starts - there is no “word” as we know it in French for “seventy” so they just go on counting: sixty-eight, sixty-nine, sixty-ten, sixty-eleven…and when they get to sixty-nineteen (79 to you), what comes next? Sixty-twenty??…non, non…sacre bleu…here they go totally loopy and say “four twenties” quatre vingts…and having gone down that slippery rue there is no stopping them, four twenties and one; four twenties and two; four twenties and three…
Ninety? No problem… “four twenties and ten”
So, how about if we did something similar in English after forty. We could get to forty-nine and then say, for example; two and a half eighteens and five; two and a half eighteens and six…
That way I would never reach the big five oh!
And instead of being in my fifites, I would be in my two and a half eighteens…now that I can just about live with!