Once again, I am allowing myself to be outdone by another of my favorite bloggers! Yesterday, Sandra Bell Kirchman, tomorrow, Nancy Hatch, and today – Kate Shrewsday! I cannot thank all three of you enough ( ❗ ), and today, Ms. Shrewsday – world-famous and superbly gifted, thought-provoking and entertaining author, the blessed-to-be-a-daughter of John and June, the Mom of the even more famous Maddie and Felix. Along with her Hubs, they are all owned by a feisty, notoriously malodorous dog named Macaulay, and an elderly imperious kitty named Kit-Kat! So, join with me now in reading the delicious tidbit Kate has written for all of us to enjoy:
THE ATOMIC WORM
Paula’s e-mail plopped chirpily into my mailbox at 5:39am.
She purports to be distracted but I can hear from a distance of thousands of miles that she’s organising her op and its logistics like a military operation.
\So: Sandra’s doing Friday, but Paula has asked Nancy and I to take the weekend shift. Erk. How does one follow PTC? The woman has an inimitable style all her own!
While my husband parked a cup of tea I mulled it over. How to guest for Paula, how to guest for Paula….
Having riffled through the possibilities and briefly considered a post waxing lyrical about pets, I put the whole thing on hold. Because my material hadn’t even woken up yet, and they never let me down.
It was at the breakfast table that Felix, my eight-year-old son, came out with it. Something which would put a smile on Paula’s face.
“Mum”, I heard him say, “How many atoms are there in a worm?”
Do you ever have that thing when your brain screeches to a halt like an Italian Job mini hitting a dead-end?
Packed lunch, cricket kit, swimming kit, all the thoughts and paraphernalia of a day in the Summer holidays: all went blank.
How many atoms in a worm, indeed?
In this day and age, we parents should not have to feel omnipotent and all-knowing. Last time I checked, I was not God. But I will own that the question intrigued me.
The result being that my brain diverted all its circuits to the most interesting thing happening, and all practicalities were nothing to me.
First step: consult the oracle. In our establishment this is my ten-year-old daughter, Maddie.
Open questions usually do the trick here. “Well now”, I said, modelling wisdom worthy of CS Lewis, “Maddie knows a bit about this. We know that there are….”
Maddie finished, “Oh yes, I know this….a hair’s width is about one million atoms.”
“Yes”, I confirmed, in an ‘I-knew-that-all-the-time’ manner. “Now how can we use that to help us?”
I rallied: “Well: if you took lots of hairs and bundled them together, might you get to the thickness of a worm?”
Felix’s face cleared. “Oh, yes!….Lets see… how many hairs would it take…..50?”
A bit more, I thought. There followed some wild estimates, and the truth is, short of cutting my hair off and trying it out, I have no idea. We settled on 200.
So, we calculated that a worm would have a girth of 200 million atoms.
It occurred to me at that point that the worm might need to diet. 200 million is a lot.
The ‘how long is the worm’ question took some thought, too. We plumped for a short fat one of some 5 cm.
And then, just before we embarked on ‘how many hair widths is that, then, my son said: “Mum, why are we talking about worms?”
I faltered. “Because you asked, dear?” I ventured.
“No I didn’t”, he grinned. “I asked how many atoms in the WORLD!”
Suddenly, making the packed lunches seemed an incredibly attractive option.
We decided to leave that problem until much, much later.
Get well soon, PTC.
How could a Post-a-Day blogger ask for more? Surely with guest bloggers like Kate, Sandra, and Nancy, and Gentle Readers like all of you – I have been blessed with an abundance of enough. . .