To an Algebra-Free 2015

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Last year, I published an end-of-the-year post on what I learned and achieved over the previous twelve months. Why not do it again? Without further ado …

     

    Major achievement of the year …

     

    Last year, it was baking veggies in dijon-coated puff pastry. Asking me to top my “Veggie Wellington” is like requesting that Neil Armstrong find a new place to leave his footprint. Yes, this year I did come up with the bright idea of sticking Polish sausage in a lasagna, which was the hit of a potluck gathering, but this probably won’t make it into my obituary.

     

    Still, I can take a small measure of comfort in my encounter with Mickey Hart, drummer with the Grateful Dead. He actually said to me, “Good doo, man.”

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    This was in reference to my didgeridoo, which I brought to a drum circle that he led. (Story here.) Crazy thing, I used to joke about collaborating on my didge with either Mickey Hart or Yo-Yo Ma. Still waiting for Yo-Yo to call.

     

    Lesson - You take your small triumphs as you find them. But to find them, you have to be there. Our big challenge with being there is getting out the door. Note to self: Get out the door more often.

     

    Major realization of the year number one …   

     

    Last year it was this: “Optimism has its limits.” This year, I discovered the inverse is also true, namely: “Pessimism has its limits.” Just when I was thinking there was no possible way of climbing out of a galaxial black hole I found myself in late last year than I begin seeing a little daylight. I certainly can’t blame this on any optimism on my part. My best explanation is simply that nothing lasts forever, not even black holes.

     

    Major realization of the year number two …

     

    Trust the process. Life is like assembling IKEA furniture. We have to have faith that we will end up with a table with all four legs touching the floor. Too often, we throw process to the wind and end up with one leg pointing to the ceiling.

     

    I’m sure you can find something to this effect in the Tao Te Ching. Had IKEA been around in ancient China, Laozi would have written about it.

     

    Major realization of the year number three …

     

    Algebra in the schools is a communist plot from the 1960s to make us all think we’re losers. I’m not buying into algebra, anymore, nor into a half-century of feeling inadequate and inferior. Screw algebra. It has no place in our education system. Replace it with music, which should be at the center of the core curriculum, along with the arts. While we’re at it, ditch all the other useless stuff they teach in high school and focus on graduating kids who know how to think for themselves.

     

    Really, we need to be rioting in the streets over this. 

     

    Something I didn’t know last year …

     

    The 100 trillion microbes in our bodies account for 90 percent of our cells and 99 percent of our genes. This is an awful lot of personal biology to know hardly anything about.

     

    Something I didn’t know about bipolar last year …

     

    Research is revealing that the microbes in our gut can influence how we think and feel. This raises the possibility of microbial treatments for bipolar. Totally mind-boggling.

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    Something else I didn’t know last year …

     

    You can make your breakfasts for the week by cracking an egg each into the oiled wells of a muffin pan. You might want to jazz them up with bacon, ham, or greens. Add cheese and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan, refrigerate. When ready to use, zap in microwave for 10 seconds, put on toasted English muffin.

     

    Seriously, this little trick has changed my life.

     

    Pleasant surprise of this year …

     

    New people who came into my life. Think of that proverbial one door opening. It does happen. I suppose it’s about trusting the process.

     

    Finally …

     

    Thanks to all my old people who have hung with me this year, including all of you here at HealthCentral. Let’s not kid ourselves - 2015 will be a challenge. But, sometimes in spite of ourselves, good things do happen. At the very least, here's to an algebra-free new year.  

Published On: December 27, 2014