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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: A few alternatives for measuring time

The sundial at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. There’s more than one way to count the passage of time. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
The sundial at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. There’s more than one way to count the passage of time. (Ted S. Warren / AP)

Labor Day is seven weeks from today.

Just seven. Count ’em.

But that’s simply going by the calendar. How quickly will it feel like that period is passing by?

You can decide for yourself.

A) Like the amount of time between sitting down in front of the TV with a gooey snack and dripping some of it on the clean top you just put on five minutes ago.

B) Warp 9. “Engage.”

C) So fast that by the time kids have built protective bunkers in their rooms to shield themselves from parental mentions of “school clothes” or “school supplies,” it will already be too late. Summer’s death rattle cough will be coming through loud and clear.

D) Like the amount of time it takes unprotected red-haired girls named Irene to get a sunburn at Lake Coeur d’Alene.

E) Remember in “American Graffiti” when John Milner races Bob “Han Solo” Falfa just outside of town and they burn up Paradise Road? That fast.

F) Like the Spokane Indians baseball season.

G) Like a Ryne Duren heater.

If you don’t recognize that name, it means one of three things. 1) You are an untried, untested youth, still wet behind the ears. 2) You have been avoiding any and all references to the New York Yankees since the middle of the 20th century. 3) You’ve never heard about the pitcher who had an astonishing fastball made even more effective by understandably anxious batters’ awareness that Duren was practically blind.

H) Like the time elapsed between the expiration of the warranty on a major appliance and that refrigerator or washing machine developing a serious problem.

I) Like a Beatles record moving up the charts in 1964.

J) “Switching to afterburners. On my mark. Now.”

K) You know that window of time early in the work day when you still have some energy and are buzzing through one task after another, utterly unaware of how much of the morning has slipped by? That fast.

L) Like the time elapsed between a proposal for a public art installation and someone in Spokane complaining about it.

M) Like a greyhound.

I was down in Pullman once with a WSU vet student and she took one of those dogs to a park so it could stretch its legs. If I told you how fast that greyhound was, you simply would not believe me. It was something to behold up close.

N) Like Barry Allen’s alter ego in the red superhero suit.

O) Like the roadrunner of cartoon fame. “Meep meep.”

Let me ask something. Did you used to root for the coyote to catch and dismember that insufferable bird? Oh, you knew it was never going to happen. But still. I suppose that might have been a bit dark for some of the younger viewers though.

P) Like the amount of time it takes flies to come into the house when your son is inexplicably just standing there holding the door open.

Q) The rest of the summer will go by at approximately the speed of a Bobby Hull slapshot in 1967.

R) Like the amount of time it takes people to go ape online when you write “anal” in the sense of “anal retentive” (the psychological predisposition) and some don’t get it or at least pretend not to understand what you meant.

S) Like a cheetah pursuing dinner.

T) It will feel like the amount of time tickets are available to a concert you actually want to see.

U) You know how with some cable TV setups you can fast-forward through recorded programs at 2, 3, 4 or a super-speed indicated graphically by a lightning bolt? Well, the rest of summer will go by like the lighting bolt.

V) Like the amount of time it takes certain attention-seeking local politicians to go from where they are now to where the TV camera is.

W) Like the amount of time it takes to sell a halfway decent house in Spokane right now.

X) About as long as it took the mammoth Saturn V booster to push Apollo 11 up, up and away on this date in 1969.

Y) It will seem like approximately the same amount of time it takes biscuits in the oven to go from “not quite ready” to “burned.”

Z) Other.

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