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Tick... Tick... Tick

One minute is such a relative length of time.
For example:
Stick a frozen turkey in the microwave, hit the high button, and sixty seconds later you'll still have a frozen turkey. Do the same thing to, oh, a live frog, and you'll alter its molecular structure. All over your kitchen.

Major life changes can be made in one minute. You can decide to quit your job, chuck everything, change your identity and move to another country. The next minute, you can't decide if you're up for Chinese or Italian, or if you're even hungry.

In one minute, you can drive a mile . . . unless you're commuting on the Los Angeles freeway system anywhere between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 p.m., in which case you can drive nowhere at all.

Get trapped in an elevator with George Burns, Audrey Hepburn, Lee Remick, Gregory Peck, Max von Sydow, Amy Irving, Jimmy Stewart, Paul Newman, or Paulina Porizkova for a single minute, and you'll wish time would stop.

Get stuck for the same period in the same elevator with Morton Downey Jr., Shelley Winters, Sam Kinison, Bobcat Goldthwaite or Tex Earnhardt's sons, and you'll soon be convinced, beyond any doubt, that time has stopped.

When you're visiting old friends, minutes shrink to milliseconds. But when you're attending a party where you don't know a soul and everyone would like to keep it that way, each minute ticks off like a long, hot summer.

Roger Bannister could run a quarter mile in one minute. Certain others--whimsically known as "fast-food employees"--can't carry a quarter-pounder a quarter-inch.

For one minute, picture yourself changing a flat tire in Quartzsite at noon, downtown Detroit at midnight, or Fresno at any time of day. For the next minute, picture yourself anywhere else, doing anything else.

Quite a relief, eh?

Great and complex scientific conclusions have been formulated in one minute. Yet within the same time frame, some folks can't figure out how to operate a corkscrew or get through a revolving door.

A minute feels like forever when you're being held down and tickled. But if you're being held down and kissed, it hardly exists. Unless you're being kissed by someone you don't like. Then it feels like forever again.

There is, too, the minute we've been reading about nearly every morning. You know the one. The "I-only-turned-my-back-for-a-minute" minute.

It is during this tiny chunk of eternity that parents become preoccupied with one insignificant thing or another as their child strolls into the back yard, falls into the swimming pool they'd always meant to kid-proof and drowns or is permanently brain-damaged.

That's the fastest minute there is. But it lasts a lifetime. A lifetime of horror, heartbreak, guilt, regret and pain that never lets up.

Not for a minute.
Not for any minute.

The "I-only-turned-my-back-for-a-minute" minute.

A minute feels like forever when you're being held down and tickled.

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Michael Burkett