MARK MY WORDS
It’s a small world after all, right?
The earth is huge. There are over 7.5 billion people living on the earth. The earth is about 24,874 miles tall and 24,860 miles around, so when we were told as a child, teen or young adult, that “it’s a big world out there,” they weren’t kidding.
On the flip side, you also hear people say “what a small world” we live in.
Obviously, I do understand the different connotations for our world and how they relate to how big and/or small it is.
When we were younger, EVERYTHING was bigger because, well, we were small! As we age, the things that were once enormous are now average or even small in size.
Think back to when you started school. Whatever school you went to was probably a BIG, SCARY building. You were certain to get lost because the building was just that large. It didn’t matter what age you were, everything towered above you. As you progressed up the educational ladder, each new building was bigger than the one before.
If you walk back into those buildings today, you feel just the opposite.
When I taught at Eastside in Constantine, the grade school for which I attended, I was struck by how tiny everything seemed. Even with the addition of a new wing, the school just felt small. The gym was small, the ceilings were low and the playground even seemed like it had decreased in size.
I actually grew up on the other side of the fence from the school. When my friends and I would go over to the playground to play, the place seemed to go on for miles upon miles. As an adult, however, I could walk the length of the entire playground in a few short minutes.
I stumbled upon this topic as I was dropping my girls off at baton practice the past few months. My grandparents’ old home is across the street from where they practice. As I sat in the van waiting for them, I would look over at their house. As memories flowed through my mind, it struck me how small everything looked. The front yard that seemed so large before was actually really small. In fact, the whole yard was small. The driveway that seems so small now, appeared as big as a parking lot when I roller-skated on it as a child.
Every Christmas, our families would gather at my grandparents, and while I haven’t been inside the house since 1992, I wonder now how we all fit inside the living room to open presents. From the outside, it just doesn’t seem possible.
A funny side note to this whole big/small saga: When we moved back to Three Rivers three years ago, we took some time finding our house. We finally found the house we wanted and a few months after we moved in, my wife talked to our next-door neighbors. Our schedules were different, so the chances to say hello never seemed to pan out. I would see them outside once in awhile, but either they were busy or I was, so we never really had a chance to chat.
When I began teaching in Cassopolis, one of my co-workers had one of those “light bulb” moments when she realized I was “Mark My Words” from the paper. She told me she had read this column for years and even recited some of the columns she remembered and enjoyed. In small world fashion, not only do we work together, but we also live in the same neighborhood.
Proving that our world is even smaller than we thought, that same coworker informed me a few months later that my next-door neighbor, the one I mentioned above, also works at my school.
I was unable to put two and two together because our paths rarely crossed at school during the day. She is a nurse that works with one student in a totally different section of the school. And let’s be honest, I can be totally oblivious at times.
It just goes to show you, regardless of how big the world (or anything is, really), everything is just as small as well.
Mark McGlothlen was born and raised in Constantine and now resides in Three Rivers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.