I’ve always been pretty good at doing complex mathematical problems in my head.
The last boss I had called me “Rain Man” because I reminded him of one of his friends growing up who could do complex mathematical problems in his head. Kidding – it was actually because he thought I looked like Dustin Hoffman.
Getting back to my numerical aptitude: it came naturally, probably nothing more than a defensive skill I developed to avoid learning how to use a slide rule. The only people I knew growing up who could use slide rules were the teachers showing you how. (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of a slide rule: today you’re as likely to run across one as you are a dodo bird.)
My point is I’ve always been a numbers-oriented person. Throughout a 39-year-251-day logistics career (no, I didn’t count; I just know) numbers governed everything I did. To name a few: budgets, payroll, productivity, schedules, income, expenses and last but not least, time.
This of course spilled over into my everyday life while I was still employed:
I set the alarm clock for exactly 2:51 a.m. during the week, leaving precisely enough time for two cups of coffee, feeding the cats, using/attempting to use the bathroom, running, shaving, showering, dressing and driving to work so that I was in my office NO LATER than 6:53 a.m. It’s worth mentioning that (a) I was the boss of my logistics warehouse and didn’t have an official start time (b) I had a boss that lived 1,000 miles away and couldn’t have cared less what time I got to work each day. 6:53 a.m. was simply the time I had to be at work and come hell or high water, I was going to be there at that time.
I ran at least 11 miles a day during the week, 15 on Saturdays and 20 on Sundays. I did it for a couple of reasons: (a) so I could eat Little Debbie cakes to my heart’s delight without fear of gaining weight and (b) when I got to the age I’m at now I would never experience any physical discomfort and to a point my plan was successful… if you don’t take into account the times that I’m actually awake.
There are many other examples; in fact 78 immediately come to mind. However, there aren’t enough words left for me in my column – I have a 500-word limit – to tell you about them. I will tell you now that I’m retired my life doesn’t revolve around numbers like they did before. I now set the alarm for 5 a.m. and run only enough miles to burn off the calories of a Little Debbie cake or two – sometimes three.
Besides, if my life were still governed by numbers I’d be writing the same words over and over and over and over until the total in this column reached 500.
Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia. His latest book, “Southern Charm” is a collection of his first 101 columns for The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .