12MM X 10MM

May 13, 2002

Quick how big is that? If you are from my generation you studied the metric system while in grade school. Days, weeks even were spent on complex conversion formulas all in a futile effort to move the United States to the same measurement system most of the rest of the world uses. Like so many grand social experiments, this one failed.

Still, we run into things that are metric in our lives. I know a few equivalents between US Standard and metric. One is that there are 24 MM to an inch. So 12 MM x 10 MM is roughly 1/2 inch in size both ways. Not terribly big as things go. Maybe the size of a lima bean. Small, then, insignificant.

Insignificant, that is until it is a "mass" in the cerebellum of a human brain. Today I got an e-mail from a very dear friend stating that the source of his migraines had been discovered. A 12 MM x 10 MM mass located in their cerebellum. The prognosis, while still early, is good. My friend is fortunate that it was discovered, and that one of the second opinions is coming from the world's expert in these things.

Metric or English a lima bean isn't really that big. The context is the real measure of size. When it is on your plate it isn't very large. When it is inside one of your best friend's skulls, suddenly it looms large, almost to terrifying proportions.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.