Barry Currin

Estimating distances can be tricky.

If you asked 20 people how far it is to that tree in the distance, you would probably get 20 different answers.

I don’t know how accurate I would be, but I do know how I would arrive at the answer.

Sports dimensions.

Basketball goals are 10 feet high. When I need to judge how tall something is, I always picture a basketball goal if it’s somewhere in the 10-foot range.

Basketball courts also come in handy. They’re 92 feet long, so I can get pretty close to a distance of around 100 feet by picturing a basketball court.

I can envision 15 feet by seeing the referee step off a 5-yard penalty. The same principal applies to 10 and 15 yarders.

And of course, a first down is 30 feet.

I should probably note here that I do not talk to the imaginary referee. I just see him.

So in my estimation, that tree in the distance is one basketball court, one first down, holding and delay of game — or, exactly 147 feet.

I have a confession to make

I’ve never admitted to this to anyone outside my immediate family before.

I made a 17 on the ACT test.


Going back to my distance thing, 17 on the ACT is like a quarterback sneak behind an offensive guard named Wanda.

For the record, that wasn’t indicative of my school performance. I just had a bad day.

I’ve had 40 years to perfect the excuses for my dismal showing. There are four.

First, I had a cold, and the weather was cold which didn’t help anything.

Second, I had to drive a half hour to the county seat to take it. It started early on a Saturday morning. I don’t recall what I did the night before, but whatever it was probably didn’t include too much ACT prep.

Third, I had already been accepted to the college where I was starting my post secondary journey, so it really didn’t matter how well I did. All I needed was a number to fill in a blank on some form.

And fourth, I knew I was treating myself to Pizza Hut afterward, so that carrot on a stick alone probably knocked me down 6 or 7 points.

Come on, you don’t think I’m going to drive 1,434 basketball courts to the county seat on a Saturday to take a standardized test which I only needed in theory and then go straight back home without swinging by for some pizza do you?

In my hometown, the only pizza place was the frozen section at the grocery store.

I keep column ideas

Like the two Pulitzers you just read — on a note-taking app. The title of each note is automatically generated by what’s written on the first line of each note.

Hence, my column idea note is titled, “Who Did Diane Brown Vote For?”

This is the first story idea I ever wrote down, and I’ve never used it for umpteen years.

Diane Brown was the mother of one of Kim’s classmates in elementary school. She also served as a Girl Scout leader.

Legend has it the scouts asked her who she voted for following the 1972 presidential election.

She responded, “We don’t talk about that.”

My, how things have changed.

And not for the better.

Barry Currin is founder and President of White Oak Advertising and Public Relations, based in Cleveland, Tennessee. “Stories of a World Gone Mad” is published weekly. Visit barrycurrin.com. Email him at currin01@gmail.com