Saturday, July 23, 2016

Flag math

It was only a week ago that I put forward the revolutionary idea that things have been going bad enough in the world that it was time for us to put the flag permanently at half mast. I proposed that we should just raise it up for awhile when something good happens. I thought it might be more cheering and optimistic that way.

So I placed my idea out onto the Internet and waited for a response, but it is possible no one has been on the Internet for weeks. I heard nothing. The all devouring Internet mindlessly ate another of my ideas.

When I was a child in the seventies I often went to the beach. Once I was at a beach and was instructed by someone to hold a large shell to my ear.

"Do you hear that?" The person said. I listened and heard an even, slightly mesmerizing roar. "That" they said "Is the sound of the Internet."

So forget my idea that the flag be placed, in these perilous times, always at half mast. It is ancient history. And it was not just the ever guzzling and erasing Internet that displaced it. Events overtook my idea as well. I don't even know what the flag was at half mast for when I first wrote my starts-at-half-mast idea, but almost immediately a former Governor of Minnesota died and flags were ordered to be hung at half mast. How do you fly a half mast flag at half mast? Then, before anyone could figure that one out the President ordered flags to be flown at half mast for some shot police officers somewhere. Half mast at half mast at half mast.

If my idea concerning always at half mast was a wash, how can we at least give meaning to lowering the flag to half mast when the triggers overwhelm our ammunition?

Fortunately I have a simple solution. If a tragic event occurs and one's flag is at half mast, we must now lower it to quarter mast. If another event transpires requiring a flag lowering during that time one simply lowers the flag to eighth mast.

We have instituted this method at our public library already, and it is going well. With various shootings, the Republican National Convention, something involving mosquitoes, and Clinton's Vice Presidential pick we are now flying our flag at 64th mast.

On the plus side, the more tragedies we face, the more minor the adjustment, so long as one doesn't mind a little detail work with rulers.

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