The Sands of Time

A certain famous soap opera opened every day by intoning “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” It’s a clever enough notion and even made for a funny moment in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when it’s uttered by Socrates, but it often seems to me like there’s better metaphors we could be using.

One that occurred to me is that the days of our lives are like the crumbs in a toaster. Some are tastier than others, and some have been burned to a crisp.

So I told my clever new metaphor to God and he told me to go back to the hourglass. He pointed out that as the hour goes by the sands fall through the choke point at the same rate, but as the level in the glass starts to run low the level also begins to to go down faster, because the width of the pile is smaller at the bottom than it is at the top. This, he told me, is why when we are young a day seems to take forever to go by, but when we get old even the years seem to pass in the blink of an eye.

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