Monday, February 3, 2014

Banana Writing


When I was a kid on long road trips, we would play riveting games such as "The License Plate Game," where we would strive to spy a license plate from every state in the union, or "The Alphabet Game" where we had strict rules for not using license plates to find the alphabet letters in order (license plates were reserved for the former game.) Another staunchly enforced alphabet rule was that another person could not use the same letter that someone else had already claimed on a passing sign, even if it was the coveted "Q" from a few-and-far-between Quaker Oil sign. We also sang "100 More Miles" (or however many miles it was to our destination.) The full lyrics (besides substituting the number "100" for however many miles you are traveling) go like this: "100 more miles, 100 more miles, 100 more miles to go-o, just pick up your feet and swing your arms, 100 more miles to goooo." First of all, it was a miracle that I never recall my parents telling us to stop singing That Song. Secondly, it was a great disappointment when I realized that finishing a verse before subtracting a mile from the total and singing it again did not result in one full mile passing beneath our rolling station wagon wheels. (There were 8 children. We needed a station wagon.) I felt that whoever had written the song was never a dedicated traveler and had no business putting a song like that out there with insufficient lyrics to cover a full mile.
Now we have a new generation of travelers, ones who watch TVs in the car and play electronic games while all those license plates and billboards pass them by. We also have those who write on bananas.
Write on bananas?
Oh, yes. Banana writing was invented when a traveler wished to practice writing Roman Numerals only to discover that while someone had the foresight to bring food, there was no readily available paper. Hence, writing numerals on the nearby banana.
Can you read the Roman Numeral banana?
(I'm actually quite fond of deciphering Roman Numerals. It's like a secret code.)   

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