Friday, July 16, 2010

Industrial Strength In Numbers

Since yesterday I've been celebrating my accomplishment both in numbers and years. With my 100th industrial post -- in the process of 101 right now -- I've been reflecting on the great significance of both numbers and the passing of years they represent.

When you have a significant number like that, and you know it also is applied to time, as in a century, it's really something to consider. Because, as numbers go, it's right up there, showing that the thing in question has been sustained and is long lasting; it's not fly by night or a mist that dissipates with the morning sky's blast furnace.

101 is auspicious as well, because it holds promise for the future. To me, 100 is more essentially the end of a series, then it takes that extra 1 to make it the beginning of something. But we go both ways on this, as is easy to see when we count decades as starting with the 0. Another way for me to explain my feelings on this is that 0 has put you to the line -- like the finish line, but 1 is the beginning of the race.

Whatever the feeling of the numbers, they do represent a great deal of time that has passed -- in this case 100 years -- with me remaining and abiding, not looking too shabby for such an enormous span. Frankly, I still feel fit as a fiddle, like I could easily write another 100 posts without slowing down or showing my age. I still feel young at heart, at least, and in this day and age that counts for a lot more than you'd think!

There's a lot of rusted out cylinders, especially to be found at industrial sites. Maybe they were used for storage of something 100 years ago. Animal musk at a tanning factory or the sharp ends of barbed wire clipped off before shipping out the finished spools. Neither one has a short half life, so it'd be easy to seal off the cylinders and just forget them. Workers retire, then die, and the upcoming generation doesn't know what to do, so they do nothing. Then you have a century of rust and decay and next thing you know it's both toxic and unpleasant. But I go on, no worse for the wear!

To me, 100 is a good industrial strength number. That's why we celebrate it. It hasn't got the unfulfilled promise of 99 and it's not feeling its oats like the more vigorous 101. It has arrived and it stands there proud, standing there actually long enough for a sculptor to have plenty of time to etch it in stone, if that's what the moment seems to call for. That's why there's so many commemorative 100's around. They breed like rabbits.

Anyway -- so be it. 101 is here. 101 is passing, industry remains, and the future appears like it might turn out to be bright.

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