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Contemplating units of measure at 2:00 AM

Posted by Michael Hughes on Monday, March 7, 2011

I admit that I over analyze things. I'm sure my wife and others that know me well would respond to that admission with "No shock, Sherlock" or words to that effect. I like puzzles, e.g., crosswords, jumbles, and Suduku, and when life doesn't deliver me enough puzzles, I turn what it does deliver into one.

Also, since I don't sleep all that well any more, I look for safe things to ponder about at 2:00 AM not related to work. So I was awake the other morning in the wee hours and started wondering about the lyrics to the song "Freeborn Man," specifically why certain units of measure got associated with certain types of transportation routes.

"I know every inch of highway, every foot of backroad, every mile of railroad track." I told you I analyzed things too much.

I figured out the mile of railroad track, I think. Trains go fast and you could't focus on inches and feet at that speed. But by that logic, shouldn't the highway's unit of measure have been bigger than the backroad's? (Hey, at two o'clock in the morning this is better stuff to be thinking about than deadlines and bills.)

Then it struck me. The freeborn man doesn't have a car! Heck, he's hocked his guitar 200 times, how's he going to keep up with car payments and titles and such? That means he hitch-hikes a lot, which means he spends a lot of time just standing on the highway. Time enough to notice details at the inch level, e.g., cracks and such.

As for backroads, by the time you get off the highway and onto a backroad, you're getting close to your destination. That and traffic is not so dependable, so you're better off walking--that way if a ride doesn't come along, you'll get where you're going after a couple of hours. Well, at a walking pace, you tend to notice details at the foot level (no pun intended).

That's about when I fell back to sleep. I don't know if that's what Keith Allison and Mark Lindsay had in mind, but it helps me remember the lyrics and adds a richer bit of imagery when I hear it now.


2 comments on “Contemplating units of measure at 2:00 AM”

Marv Says:
Monday, March 7, 2011 @12:32:30 PM

Sorry, just can't keep my eyes open anotzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Michael Hughes Says:
Monday, March 7, 2011 @12:40:22 PM

cold, Marv, cold

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