The Three-Legged Dog

From the Chapel Hill Police log:  Wednesday, September 14, 9:38 pm, “A domestic assault occurred when a mother and daughter were arguing and the daughter bit the mother’s hand.”  Yikes, hasn’t this kid ever heard that you “don’t bite the hand that feeds you?”  Well, at 9:38 pm, at least it was after dinner….

Old business.  “Tommy, do you remember the puzzler I printed a few posts back?”  “Ahhh, no.”  “Ok, I’ll repeat it for you.”
My son, Andrew, and I were born in years that end in the same two digits, 4 and 7 (1947 and 1974).  Those last two digits add up to 11.  Once every 11 years our birthdays again share the same last two digits, so when Andy turned 36 last year, I was 63.  This will happen again (God willing) in 2021 when he will be 47 and I will be 74.  Hmmm, I hadn’t even thought of this, but not only will our digits match again, but this time they will once again add up to 11.   What mathematical theory causes this phenomenon?
Well, for the answer I queried the math department at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and got the following answer from the very knowledgable and helpful Brian Whitling:

“In accounting it is widely known that when 2 consecutive digits are transposed the difference between the 2 figures is divisible by 9.  Hence writing 71 instead of 17, the difference is 71-17 = 54.  One way to think of your ? is to have this concept in mind.  Think of 47 & 74 as a transposition.  The difference of 27 (which would be your age when your son was born) carries forward forever, every year, obviously.  It takes 10 years for the ones digit to return to the same value as the last time the transposition happened because there are 10 digit options, i.e., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. thus, the 11th year yields the next transposition event, since each of the respective ones digits has now increased by 1.  So the 11 is independent of (I believe he’s saying, ‘has nothing to do with’) the sum of your digits.”

What the $%#@!  For me at least, with my lifetime C- math average, this is just another puzzler.  Did y’all get this?  I will call Brian this week to see if he can walk me through it.  By the way, it was the Idiotic Brother that was responsible for my horrible showing in math, because  in essence he  “poisoned the well.”  I got all the same teachers he had in high school, and when they saw me come along they just automatically gave-up and gave me the same set of less than sparkling grades they gave the IB.

Hey, tractor work, you betcha.  One of the things I have to do before I can mount the engine.  That sounds wrong doesn’t it, a bit suggestive even?  Yuck!  Get that thought out of your mind.  Before the engine is “installed,” I figured out that I need to “install” the gas tank and starter.  So this week I went out to Gene’s and attacked the Pony’s torque tube with a wire brush-equipped, electric drill, a power sander and some degreaser.  What a mess, there were paint chips and paint dust and red colored degreaser all over me.  I had to go home and shower before I coud finish the job a few hours later by applying a coat of primer.  Here’s a shot of me finishing up the paint job, photo courtesy of Gene.

Gene’s  had a running battle with the Pony’s steering wheel.  No matter what he tries, it just won’t come off.  You can just see a piece of the steering wheel on the left side of the photo above.  I finally tried the last resort and put a question on the tractor discussion board.  Always a crap shoot doing that, but I did get a couple of responses.
*There’s something about welding something to it and then whackin it with a BFH.
*Heat collar of the steering wheel with a torch and tap up with a hammer while it is still hot; it works for me all the time.
If you don’t know what a BFH is, I’m not gonna explain it to you.  Some lingo is reserved only professional tractor guys and ex-Navy men.  But going with the second suggestion, here’s a photo of Gene at work.  Hey, be careful with my new paint job!

Knowing the Pony, as you all do by now, does anyone want to hazard a guess as to whether this worked? 
Good guess…that wheel is still stuck.
Our next effort will be dismantling from the bottom, starting I guess at what you’d call the steering box, to see if we can get it off that way.

I was just thinking, is there any animal that occurs naturally, three-legged?  What got me thinking along these lines was a brief occurrence last Thursday.  I was out on the morning 40, humping on down Russell’s Chapel Road, when I saw a good-size, all-black, long-haired dog up ahead limping, kind of hobbling in the road.  I was worried because he was out in the traffic and occasionally a car would go by and swerve around him.  When I got up on him I saw that he wasn’t injured, but that he only had three legs, one of the front ones just totally not there, poor guy.

I was concerned about him, so when I got to the cafe and saw Jim there who I knew lived up on Russell’s Chapel, I mentioned it to him.   He said, “Oh yeah, that’s just old Harry, belongs to the Jeffrey, and he must be out wanderin.”  The guy across from him said that, “…yeah, that’s how he lost the leg in the first place.  Jeffrey and his wife took him in as a charity case a few years back, but it’s hard to confine him.”

After I left the cafe and on the return leg home, sure enough, I spotted him again a good two miles north of where I’d seen him last, galumping along, but at a pretty good pace in the grass (thankfully) along side the road.  I shook my head, and for the rest of the way home thought about the lessons of the three-legged dog:
1.  There’s nothing like a second chance, if someone’ll just give it to ya.
2.  Even with less than God gave most, one can get pretty far.
3.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not perfect.  Perfection’s boring.  Have you ever seen the sun rise when there are no clouds.  Throw a few clouds in though, and it’s stunning.
4.  Learn from your mistakes, dammit; stay out of the road!

One parting photo.  Here’s a shot of the neighborhood guys applauding the  new picnic table that’s been keeping me from tractor work.

Now get back to work on that tractor, Blog Boy.  Thanks for reading.


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