|[MjL => This is a repeat that I wrote 4 years ago ... I stumbled upon it again and thought it worth repeating.]|
Every morning I have this habit ... almost a ritual really ... that begins with waking up. I stumble into the bathroom to do what is necessary when I first get up, then head for the kitchen to make coffee. Most mornings this part of the habit goes without comment and while the Bunn is busy turning hot water into coffee I shuffle over to the table and sit down. Long ago I used to smoke a cigarette and wait for the coffee, but now I gather up my pills for the morning and check my blood sugar. After a bit I wander back and get that first cup of coffee and the day begins.
Every once in a while, maybe three or four times a month, there is a slight hesitation in the process, a small tremor in the Force. Somehow the thumb and fingers of my left hand realize I have plucked two coffee filters instead of one. Then I must mutter, cuss and mumble in my near asleep condition trying to pry apart these two very thin pieces of paper. And it happens. I smile in wonder that my fat fingers and thumb are so smart they can determine immediately that I have two of those incredibly thin pieces of paper in my hand. This is so cool. And then immediately I am confronted with the same memory from high school. Almost like a recurring dream I am fumbling with the coffee filters in my hands but my mind has raced backwards to 1972 and I am sitting in plastic and tubular metal desk contraption in Chemistry class. The same experience, the original one, where my fingers are fumbling with the filter paper we used to filtrate whatever in our whichever chemistry experiments. The filter paper thing is probably the only thing I remember from that class after all these years ... and Mr. Wuellner our Chemistry teacher. He was so smart. I mean REALLY smart. And he must have been sharp to impress that upon a teenager in 1972. One day while somebody was trying to cuss apart two of those very thin filter papers Mr. Wuellner interrupted the growing profane nature of the words regarding this process and suggested the student stop trying so hard ... to just lightly rub them together and then to lightly slide them apart. The student then praised Mr. Wuellner for being so very smart to have figured this out and Mr. Wuellner said these unforgettable words, No, If I was smart I would be a retired millionaire by now. He then relates how many decades previous to that time he was in college where he used to routinely make coffee using these filter papers, hot water and coffee ground 3 times to make it fine enough. He said this was long before Mr. Coffee or anybody knocked the electric percolator from the store shelves. If he had been REALLY smart, he would have patented the process and gotten rich instead of trying to just learn enough Chemistry to teach us.
Mr. Wuellner has long since passed on and I have forgotten every bit of my chemistry except how to separate thin filter papers (and the part about glass tube hot enough to bend is hot enough to fry your thumb). I praise my long ago Chemistry teacher as often as I wonder at the complexity of my fingers for knowing the difference between the thickness of one piece of paper and two ... even when my eyes say different and I am at least half-asleep. Aint life strange and wonderful?
09 Nov 2012, 06:00 a.m.