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An extra eight minutes

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Last week I had a 3:10 doctor’s appointment, which in and of itself is not unusual, but what happened when I arrived has never happened before and probably never will again.

Before I even finished signing in at the desk, the nurse immediately asked for me to come back. After a quick glance at the clock, I announced, “My appointment was for 3:10, it’s only 3:02. I now have eight minutes back in my life.”

As the nice nurse showed me to a room, she patted my shoulder and said, “I’m sure you can find something to do with the time.”

She was right; I did. For the rest of that day and the next two, I asked everyone I came in contact with the same question: “What would you do if you had an extra eight minutes in your day?”

When I asked the nurse, she said she would go skydiving with her husband. Seems he’s a professional skydiver. Just why anyone would jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I have no idea. I just hope the plane is really high when they do. Otherwise, she may not really need all of those minutes.

After the doctor visit, I headed to the local grocery store where I asked the pharmacist and his assistant what they would do with an extra eight minutes in each day.

The assistant said she would hit the snooze on her alarm. The pharmacist asked if the eight minutes were day minutes or night minutes. With a wry smile he added, “Because that could change what I do.” He started to laugh.

I told him they were day minutes (because this is a family column). I never got his answer because he never stopped laughing.

Here are a few more of the answers I received. Divorced Dan at the coffee shop has an 8-year-old daughter and a great answer for what to do with the extra minutes. He said he would spend them each day hugging her.

The lady behind me in line to pay her power bill said she would spend the time knitting. I didn’t get a chance to ask her what one could knit in eight minutes.

My boss at work thought for a moment then said he didn’t really know what he would do, but he would do it with his family.

When I asked my mother-in-law, the minister, she replied, “I would spend the time praying.” A good answer, but with all that’s going on in the world, eight minutes a day is not going to be nearly enough.

Over the two days of my inquiring about what to do with the extra time, the cashier at the grocery story had one of the better answers.

She said she would spend it with her dad. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and for the last two years has been in a nursing home. She tries to see him as much as she can, but sadly, there’s never enough time. An eight extra minutes would really mean a lot to her – and to him.

For me the answer was simple. I would spend every second with The Wife.

Sadly, there will come a day that one of us will pray to have more time with the departed – even if it’s only eight minutes.

So the best way to end this story is how it started, by asking the question. What would YOU do with an extra eight minutes?

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for over 26 years and a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]


I wish I could get the 3 minutes that it took me to read this column back in my life.

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