My Prime Exaggeration Number · 5 January 2019

Seventeen times. If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you seventeen times.

Seventeen is my favorite exaggeration number. Not a thousand or a million or even a quadrillion. Just seventeen. I am not sure why either. It is odd, but 17 is my prime exaggeration number. (Puns intended, but maybe not so well received. After all, not everybody likes math jokes.)

I am not sure how it all started, but I have been using seventeen (or other fairly small numbers) as my exaggeration number. Maybe it is the way seventeen rolls off the tongue. Sev-en-teen. (It seems savory somehow.) I do not really know. But it does not really matter. I just like to use it as my exaggeration number. (At least at the time of this writing. It could change seventeen times by tomorrow.)

I suppose part of the reason is that seventeen is much better than a million. Or a billion. After all, it makes much more sense. I mean really, if my mom scolded me a million times about one thing, she would probably still be scolding me. It would literally take a person a lifetime to scold somebody a million (let alone a billion) times about something. Let alone keep track of such scolding. Besides, when people exaggerate that much, you know they are just exaggerating. And so the exaggeration loses its effect.

Unless of course, somebody says “a million billion quadrillion.” Then, you know they are being literal and not exaggerating at all. (Where is that sarcastic font?)


I am not much into exaggeration anyway (ignore that person calling me a liar), but when I do exaggerate, I like to use numbers that are plausible. Seventeen times seems plausible. For scolding. For giving directions. For doing anything over and over and over again. (I would have repeated “and over” seventeen times, but that seems a bit overkill.) So I use it. Seventeen.

I am not sure what any of this has to do with life, except that people who exaggerate all the time ought to quit using the -illion numbers. They are blasé and no fun. Besides, they are not odd, nor are they prime.

So when you exaggerate, think about using a simpler number. One people can actually fathom. Like seven or thirteen or even seventeen. Just be sure to use it often enough that people know it is your prime exaggeration number.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Ode to a Year · 29 December 2018

An ode to a year that has just gone before
As we kneel down to pray that God grant us one more
Let us count all our blessings, at least three-sixty-five
The days of the year that we have been alive

But life is much more than living day after day
More than fending off sickness, than keeping errors at bay
More than food that we eat, more than words that we say
More than shows that we watch, more than games that we play

Praying Hands
by Albrecht Dürer
This work is in
the public domain.

Yes life is so full of the blessings God gives
Of all the good times, of all the days that one lives
Yes there is hurt, there is pain and there’s strife
The saying is trite, but those are all part of life

So despite all the hurt, all the pain, all the strife
I will still count all the blessings of life
And I will thank God for my family and friends
I will continue to pray until this life ends

The blessings of life I shall count one, two, three
Health, joy, and peace have been granted to me
And lest I forget they all come from above
Now abide these three more: faith, hope, and love

But most of my blessings are the people I know
They are far more precious than things, as we know
Co-workers and friends and, of course, family
My wonderful wife and our grown-up boys, three

All the blessings I have, from this year and before
All the blessings I have, now and forevermore
Are the people I know, all the people I love
All the people I know, God sent to me from above

And when all is done, and when all is said
And when all the words of this poem are read
The blessings are you and the journey we’ve shared
The times that we’ve spent, and the dreams that we’ve dared

This ode to a year that has gone on before
Is an ode to my family and my friends at its core
For the days that we spent in this year almost through
Have meant so much more because I spent it with you.

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Getting Excited for Christmas · 22 December 2018

Christmas is just around the corner, and I am excited.

I recently had the following conversation (or something like it) with a student:

Student: “Are you excited for the non-specific winter holiday coming up, which I assume is Christmas?”
(My pat answer.) “I try not to get excited about things until they actually happen.”
Student (exasperated): “But that’s the whole point!”

Adoration of the Shepherds
by the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
This work is in the public domain.

The short exchange gave me pause. Getting excited about the very specific winter holiday, which is indeed Christmas, is the whole point.

I love Christmas. I love the season of giving. I love celebrating. I love family. I love the food. I love the cheer. I even love the humbugs in my life. (I really only have a couple who say they are humbugs, but the fact that they are gems is quite a different story.) And of course, I love that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. (No, I am not preaching.)

We need to get ready for the Christmas season by watching some of my favorite movies. A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. We need to get prepared for our Christmas dinner by buying food and researching recipes. We need to buy gifts and decorate. And we need to prepare our hearts for the King of Kings, the reason for the season.

All of which translate into getting excited for Christmas. Which I love to do. I just forgot for a moment. I forgot because I while I do like to save my energy for the moment, I need to remember that I should be excited for each moment. And for big occasions, I need to be excited for the preparations as well.

I am glad that my student reminded me that the excitement for the Christmas season is as important as the yearly event itself. Sometimes, I get worried about the little details. Sometimes, I wonder if I have gotten the right gift. Sometimes, I wonder if I am really ready for the season. And in that wondering, I sometimes forget to get excited.

I do not know if I am quite ready for Christmas. There are still presents to wrap and letters to send (maybe even one to Santa). There might even be a couple gifts left to buy. But like my student said, I ought to be excited about Christmas. About all the preparations and all the presents and all the get-togethers and all the family and all the eating and all the movies. Mostly, I ought to be excited to give love and to receive love. After all, love is at the heart of Christmas. (See, not too much preaching.)

Christmas is just around the corner. I am not so sure I was excited about it before. But thanks to my student’s reminder, I am now.

“Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good night.”

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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