The 4cast

30% chance of rain. 58 degrees. Winds 9-12 mph.

Today’s weather forecast? (As it turned out, Klindt Breckenridge and I sailed through a brief drizzle with the ambient air at an Arizona Arctic 58 degrees, but the 9-12 mph of advertised wind was nothing more than hype. But I digress.) No, the fragments above might as well have been etchings on stone tablets from the many and indecipherable languages that appeared after the implosion of the first major real estate debacle, the Tower of Babel. OK, maybe I’m babbling, but those fragments contain numbers. My problem–I don’t need a popsicle to develop brain freeze. I need one of those medical alert bracelets that say “I’m allergic to numbers.” And a button I can push when I’ve heard a number and can’t get up. You get the picture. Please, just say it might rain, it’s going to be cool, and the wind is going to blow but no whitecaps.

It all started when we went to the Sail Boat shop so I could replace Sloop Dogg’s ancient genoa sheets with lines manufactured in the post-war period. (That is, post Napoleonic War.) Ken Dayton showed me two prospective candidates, a 3/8” line and a 5/16” line. I inspected the lines, handled them, and even checked the labels on the side of the spools. My evaluation of the raw data led me to the inescapable conclusion that the 3/8” line was thicker that the 5/16” line. Had the world gone mad? 3 is bigger than 5? Had we taken a wrong turn at the intersection of Order and Entropy?

It was not until a latent memory of Sister Asumpta standing over me with infinite patience emerged that I realized I had to find a common denominator, do some crazy voodoo math with the numerator, and, miraculously, 3 could be bigger than 5. Glory be! By then, I felt like I had a stigmata in my brain.

So, after mumbling excuses for my lack of numerical acumen, I bought the 5/16” line on the notion that it’ll hold up in heavy air and not weigh the genoa down in light air. Don’t ask me to quantify “heavy” and “light.”  As the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said, I know it when I see it.

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