Art Imitates Life
a real life incident,
and a story that connects them
When I first saw the Rhymes With Orange
cartoon by local cartoonist Hilary Price above, I sent her the following letter:
Thanks for your wonderful strip. My lovely wife and I have been enjoying reading and re-reading your collection Rhymes With Orange since I lucked out finding it at a used bookstore last week. (Actually, I've been enjoying your strip since you first won that contest that landed you a regular berth in the local paper. And my lovely wife was delighted to meet you and get a signed copy of Reigning Cats & Dogs at the open studios last year.) But I digress.
I'd like to share a true story that the third strip in RWH [re-printed above] brought roaring back to mind:
The summer before fifth grade when we were living in Des Plaines, Illinois, just outside Chicago, a new school opened about a mile from our house. Local law said the town was required to bus any kids who lived more than a mile from the school. So a few weeks before the first day of school, every family got an official letter from the school superintendent stating if your address was within that one-mile zone.
Now my dad had already announced to us that for the first time in our lives we would be taking the bus to school because he had already clocked the distance at a little over a mile. We were all excited, but when the letter arrived it said that our house did NOT qualify. My dad was, to say the least, rather surprised. So he jumped in his car, pulled it out onto the road in front of our driveway, backed and forwarded until the odometer turned over to the next tenth mile, and drove to the school. When he got there, as he pulled up in front of the school, the odometer showed he had traveled 1.1 miles --- just as he had clocked it previously.
He drove home and truimphantly called the superintendent.
The superintendent was also a practical man. He, too, got in his car, pulled it out onto the road in front of the school, backed and forwarded until it turned to the next tenth, and drove to our house... at which point his odometer showed that he had traveled exactly 1 mile! He knocked at our door and shared this information with my dad.
My dad, stubborn man that he is, was not satisfied. Quite frankly, he didn't really believe him. They argued for a bit, and then decided to run the experiment again, but this time do it together. So my dad hopped in the passenger seat and the superintendent drove them both back to the school where he was shocked to discover that it was indeed 1.1 miles, and grudgingly admitted that we did qualify for the school bus after all.
Well, my dad was thrilled that he wouldn't be stuck driving us to school in the rain any more. But, when the superintendent drove him home, it clocked at exactly 1 mile!
As it turned out, the difference was that there were 3 left turns on the way to school and correspondingly 3 right turns on the way home, which basically meant that driving to school was on what I think of as the "outside lane of the curve" and driving home was on the "inside of the curve" all the way. And the difference was a tenth of a mile.
Thus, the ride home was indeed shorter than the ride there!
Playful as ever,
"The Games Man"
P.S. We had to walk to school.
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