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Forty-five years

Margie and Larry posing behind a tree

The photo above shows Margie and me on our wedding day, June 28, 2015, 45 years ago as I write this.

My daughter Sara posted wedding congratulations on Facebook, noting that Margie and I, "... are two very different people who complement each other perfectly." Margie and I indeed have different backgrounds. I'm an engineer, very technical, and rather a computer nerd. Margie is very communicative, with a background as a social worker, and now an artist. I think we've gotten more alike over our 45 years of marriage. Margie's opened me up quite a bit, and I've instilled in her a certain curiosity about things technical.

On the morning of our anniversary, Margie presented me with a list of 45 things she learned from me in the course of our 45 years of marriage - you can see it below. I've added a few footnotes to explain some of the inside jokes, although it's probably better to ignore the footnotes on a first reading.

From Margie to Larry:

45 Years of Learning and Loving
Things I learned from, the smartest, kindest, and most loving person I know.
  1. There is a difference between bits, bites, and bytes.

  2. There is a hexadecimal system.

  3. It's fun to learn a foreign language. It's even better to learn 3 or 4 of them. Apparently, it is thought to be easier to learn the 2nd or 3rd after the first, but I can't imagine that this is true.

  4. Computers used to be really big (bigger than a large refrigerator) and they stood in large rooms on false floors with miles of wires underneath.

  5. Our current smart phones run faster and store more information (in those bytes) than the old super-huge computers.

  6. Lots of computer folks are really smart; just as many are rather weird.

  7. The big metal cans hanging from telephone poles are transformers, which seem to explode or catch fire during major storms.

  8. We need to conserve helium. Note 1

  9. French is hard to learn because the words do not have a tonic stress, which causes them to run together. Note 2 

  10. There are 5 main Romance languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian, which are derived from Vulgar Latin. Larry speaks 3 of these plus some German.

  11. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.

  12. It is possible to laugh for several minutes while reading a Dave Barry book.

  13. It is also possible to start laughing uncontrollably without any obvious reason. This is sometimes from a remembered line from a movie or TV show watched 20 years ago. Think "thumb spasm ...". Note 3

  14. When you can't solve a Sudoku, you can use Larry's spreadsheet to help. Note 4

  15. The Fibonacci numbers are very important. Note 5

  16. So are prime numbers - these are even more important.

  17. Flying is safe. All noises are from the ventilation system or the wheels going up or down.

  18. It is not necessary (in fact it is a waste of money) to have a radio in your car. A CD player can be useful to listen to language tapes or comedy routines.

  19. Ditto for air conditioning.

  20. There's no front and back or left and right on boats. The front part is called the bow and the back part is called the stern. Starboard is the right side of a ship, as seen by someone who is looking towards the bow. The left side is called port.

  21. A very successful date can be singing French songs to your partner in a sailboat on the Charles River.

  22. You almost never need to buy something new. Your old things can be repaired, but remember to wait years to do so. There's no rush. Note 6

  23. Corollary: If you do hire a repairman, wait years to do so.

  24. It's imperative to avoid buying new shoes.

  25. It's OK to use any shampoo that is yellow. Note 7  Or pink.

  26. Chocolate chip cookies can be rated as to their absolute greatness. If you are lucky, compare all cookies to Shelby's. Note 8

  27. Never throw anything away.

  28. Corollary: some things can be thrown away, but only after they have developed mold from a basement flood. Or wait for a fire in the garage!

  29. It's important to complete the daily crossword puzzle first thing each morning.

  30. It's imperative to keep track of everything you own in a computer file that only you understand. Use a system that identifies all objects and their locations, but make sure to keep the coding a bit obscure.

  31. Make sure to always use the system above or you will never find a 30-year-old object.

  32. Chocolate is a food group.

  33. We must always keep miles of wires in different lengths and diameters; you never know when you will need the wire for future projects.

  34. When you go to the landfill to get rid of garbage, try to come home with more stuff than you brought with you. Do not forget more wire.

  35. Ditto for nails, screws, washers, bolts, etc., and make sure to always know where these are.

  36. Do not put anything away after you use it. It might be needed in the future, so why bother.

  37. In order to wind surf, it is probably best to learn to sail first. Note 9

  38. Do not talk on the phone or take a bath during an electrical storm. You could die.

  39. It is most important to practice the sounds of a foreign language and how it is spoken in the very beginning to avoid bad habits. This assumes that learning the language is easy for you.

  40. When a computer program is having trouble, it is important for the programmer to find the "bugs." To do so is called "debugging".

  41. It is important to watch any number of "stupid guys" on late night television. Note 10  Saturday Night Live is a must.

  42. Be careful watching Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" on TV- it will put you to sleep. Note 11

  43. After 45 years of marriage, it is easy when the partner's annoying habits become endearing.

  44. It's easy to feel loved even if your body has aged and changed, or been changed by fate, if your partner is unconditionally supportive and caring.

  45. Loving is not any more difficult than living. Both take patience, acceptance, and experience.

A wonderful anniversary gift.

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© 2015 Lawrence J. Krakauer   Click here to send me e-mail.
Originally posted June 30, 2015

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Footnotes (click [return to text] to go back to the footnote link)

Note 1:   This springs from a comment I once made that my family found memorable. It's described in my blog entry Helium.   [return to text]

Note 2:   See L'accent tonique.   [return to text]

Note 3:   I was absolutely cracked up by an episode of the TV show Cheers in which Cliff tries to curb his tendency towards hostility by having a psychologist, using a remote control, give him an electric shock whenever he says something sarcastic. One of the funniest parts was when Cliff received a shock for no apparent reason as the psychologist noted a pretty woman walking by. When Cliff complained, the psychologist said, "Sorry, thumb spasm." You can see the episode here, on YouTube.

My daughter Elissa discovered she could henceforth cause me to start laughing hysterically just by saying the words "thumb spasm".  [return to text]

Note 4:   I once created a spreadsheet to help solve Sudoku puzzles. See my posting Notes and musings on Sudoku, on my "old" web pages.   [return to text]

Note 5:   I once developed a barcode based on the Fibonacci numbers. It's described here, with a complete mathematical derivation, on my "old" web pages.   [return to text]

Note 6:   I seem to have inherited this from my father. See the penultimate paragraph in my blog entry Dan and the moon.   [return to text]

Note 7:   This comment springs from one of my favorite Zits cartoons, in which the teen-aged protagonist Jeremy's girlfriend Sara complains that she needs 17 different kinds of shampoos to care for her hair. She then says to Jeremy, "You have great hair ... what kind of shampoo do you use?" He replies, "Yellow." You can see the cartoon here, on the Zits web page. By the way, the cartoons that follow continue the same shampoo theme - just keep hitting NEXT, under the cartoon.

Margie uses a great many supposedly high-tech (and expensive) hair-care products. I buy the cheapest shampoo I can find - I figure it's all mainly generic detergent.   [return to text]

Note 8:   I consider the chocolate chip cookies made by my daughter Elissa's friend and former roommate Shelby Condray to be the peak of perfection, and I judge all others by them. For example, I might say of a very good chocolate chip cookie, "This one is 0.85 Shelbys."   [return to text]

Note 9:   See my blog entry Windsurfing for sailors.   [return to text]

Note 10:   I watched Jay Leno on the Tonight Show for years. Margie referred to him as "the stupid guy". Now, Jay Leno is not actually stupid, but he did favor a lot of rather adolescent jokes.   [return to text]

Note 11:   I greatly admired Carl Sagan as a scientist and a popularizer of science. I was most interested in the subject matter of Cosmos, a thirteen-part television series that he wrote and presented for PBS (the Public Broadcasting System).

But it came on the air at 10:00 PM, and Sagan had a rather droning voice ("Billions and billions of stars ..."). I don't think I ever got through more than about ten minutes of it before falling sound asleep.   [return to text]

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