Oh, what the hell…

Say can I have some of your purple berries?

Yes I’ve been eating them

For six or seven weeks now

Haven’t got sick once

Probably keep us both alive

“Wooden Ships”-Crosby, Stills, and Nash

…I might as well write a blog post. I’ve got a lot on my mind these days. I’m not going to get into all the details, but I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch the last few months. I’m sure there are plenty of people with worse situations, and it seems that things are going to be pretty rough for a whole lot of us for a while. Maybe I should think more about other people, and maybe even try to help some of them. But, its seems, when it all comes down to it, I’m pretty concerned with myself.

I know I shouldn’t be so self absorbed, but there are so many people out there, with so many of their own problems, if I were to pick one to be concerned about, where would I even start? Maybe with those closest to me. But isn’t that kind of selfish? What about all those other needy people out there? Do I just ignore them because they’re not part of my limited social circle?

Do you ever think about how many people there actually are in the world? Well I do. Well, I try to. It’s really pretty hard for me to wrap my head around. There’s about seven billion of us, right?

A billion is a big number. But, so is a million. If you start at one, and count one number every second, counting to a million would take you about a week. And do you know how long it would take you count to a billion at that rate? 32 years. Yep. And so counting to 7 billion would take 224 years. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of people. So, In the grand scheme of things, my problems are pretty small. Except to me.

If I had started counting to 7 billion 224 years ago, and finished today, I would have had to start counting in the year 1796. 1796 was a leap year. Just like 2020. In September of 1796 President George Washington issued his farewell address, marking the end of his second term as president.

1796 was also the beginning of “The Panic of 1796-1797”. (I should really make a donation to wikipedia.) Apparently the US economy got off to a rocky start in the early days. Prior to the US dollar being created in 1792, the prevailing currency was the Continental Currency, which was greatly inflated during the Revolutionary War, and not worth much. Even after the first issue of the dollar, from what I can tell, banks and other organizations were able to issue their own currency. Kind of like bitcoin now. But, not really. And some really rich important ambitious business men were speculating on real estate, and began issuing currency backed by land speculation. And then guess what happened? The land speculation market came crashing down and working class people lost all their money. But back in those days, their was still such thing as a debtors prison, and some of those rich people actually got sent away. The good old days.

Another big deal back in 1796 was the first administration of the smallpox vaccine by Edward Jenner, in England. Some fun facts about smallpox:

  • the earliest evidence of smallpox dates back to 300 BC in Egyptian mummies
  • the first historical evidence of smallpox inoculation was in 14th century China , where powdered smallpox scabs were blown up people’s noses, which killed about 2% of those who were inoculated.
  • the mortality rate of smallpox was about 30%
  • in 18th century Europe, smallpox was a leading cause of death, killing about 400,000 people per year.
  • in the 1950s, an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox still occurred each year worldwide
  • the last naturally contracted case of the deadly Variola major smallpox strain was in 1975.

So what does this all mean? It means that I’ve got too much free time on my hands. Clearly. But maybe someone will actually read this whole post, and be distracted from whatever may be bothering them for a few minutes. Also, writing it kept me busy for a while, instead of getting angry about things I can’t control because they may have created situations that are inconvenient for me. So, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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