04 January 2022
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The RIKL Ailment Timer

If You are Blessed and Cursed With Exemplary Patience

You probably read yesterday's blog in its entirety. Despite the tedium of reading about somebody's medical adventure, you stuck with it. Perhaps when you finally got to the "unsatisfactory denouement" you wondered why you were still paying attention. But you're a Good Person, and perhaps would be even a tiny bit sympathetic to me should one of the less desirable outcomes eventuate. You may even recall my ending remarks: "After seeing how long this diatribe has been, I've decided to spare you the ridiculous story of the partially filled prescription."

There's a Tom Lehrer Line For That

The characters in his Irish Ballad, of which there were many, suffered the ultimate ailment. This is the final verse:

My tragic tale I won't prolong / Rickety-tickety-tin
My tragic tale I won't prolong / And if you do not enjoy my song
You've yourselves to blame if it's too long / You should never have let me begin, begin
You should never have let me begin

Sadly, by the time someone has begun, it's usually too late.

There's a RIKLBlog Solution For That

I'm sure you've noticed that as you get older, more things start going wrong. For most of my life, my biggest problem was that when I got a hangnail, nobody would lift a finger to help. Nowadays...Well, I've had a lot of premeditated dentistry, cataract removal surgery, and my favorite, the "torn lateral meniscus" about which I was recently so loquacious. And this is nothing compared to the ailments of many of my superannuated conspecifics. We don't suffer in silence! When there's a gathering, it begins with the litany of new medical issues from each participant. As "interesting" as all this may be, there's business at hand, and little time for a ruminative conclave.

May I present, therefore, the RIKL Ailment Timer™? It's a simple, gravity-dependent device* that short-circuits boring discussions with a few rules and no personal animus. You may have even seen a prototype in various shops and windows. The operating instructions are pretty simple!

Rules and Operating Instructions

1: Individual participants are called "Kvetchers," abbreviated KV.

2: Any number of KVs may participate.

3: At the start of discussion, the RIKL Ailment Timer set is placed as conveniently as possible in reach of all.

4: To be fair, timers are distributed as follows:

  • Age 49 and below: 30S
  • Age 50-59: 1M
  • Age 60-69: 2M
  • Age 70-79: 3M
  • Age 80-94: 5M
  • Age 95+: 10M

5: If there is more than one KV in the same age group, the appropriate timer is passed around.

6: ALTERNATIVE RULE for TEAM SPORT athletes: Only one timer is used for all KVs. Select timer based on danger of sport. For example:

  • Team Shuffleboard, Beach Volleyball, Professional TV wrestling: 30S
  • Curling, Sculling, Badminton: 1M
  • Swimming, Volleyball: 2M
  • Baseball, Tennis, Water Polo, Hockey: 3M
  • Boxing, Skydiving, Skiing, Cheerleading: 5M
  • Football, BASE Jumping, Hadaul: 10M

The Timers operate in an intuitive manner. The first KV is either selected by lot or self selected. Before they begin talking about their ailment, they invert the appropriate timer, and must finish when the granular silicon dioxide is fully transferred through the calibrated constriction from the top to the bottom half of the cylinder. They then pass the timer to the next participant, unless they have their own. When each KV has cycled a timer, the discussion must move on to more productive or entertaining subjects.

CES Tomorrow

I rarely make predictions, but this one is short-term and has a high probability of occurring. It's fraught with adventure and, perhaps, danger.

The prediction: I plan to go to CES—the Consumer Electronic Show—tomorrow. I'm going to drive the Tesla.

The adventure: Tesla now allows one to rent the "full self driving" software, which it isn't and which I didn't purchase when I got the car. But an evaluation by way of a one-month rental isn't nearly so extravagant and I'm curious to try it. I'll have more to say about the trip, hopefully including a RIKL Review, when I return.

The danger: I thought with good reason (but aleatory accuracy) that I caught Covid at the last trade show I attended, which was CES two years ago. I'm vaxxed, boosted, and definitely not a plague wuss. But one never knows, does one? Hopefully I shall return intact with no need to invert my RIKL ailment timer.

* This does NOT work in space. Fortunately, astronauts tend to be both healthy and very busy.

Richard Factor


"What You Will"

Humble Pie




Juli Moon got shortchanged "yesterday." I failed to notice that her T-shirt had two sides. This one, the dark side of the Moon, as it were, further explains what she was or is up to. It says "Metaphysical Ink by appointment / Juli Moon Designs / 603-474-2250 / ask about our bed'n'breakfast / seabrook, nh"

Sorry, Juli!

Yesterday  |  Tomorrow