The 50% Theory of Life
I believe in the 50-percent theory. Half the time things are better than normal; the other half, they are worse. I believe life is a pendulum1（钟摆） swing. It takes time and experience to understand what normal is, and that gives me the perspective to deal with the surprises of the future.
Let's benchmark the parameters2: Yes, I will die. I've dealt with the deaths of both parents, a best friend, a beloved boss and cherished pets. Some of these deaths have been violent, before my eyes, or slow and agonizing3（苦恼的） . Bad stuff, and it belongs at the bottom of the scale.
Then there are those high points: romance and marriage to the right person; having a child and doing those Dad things like coaching my son's baseball team, paddling around the creek4（小溪） in the boat while he's swimming with the dogs, discovering his compassion5 so deep it manifests（表明） even in his kindness to snails6, his imagination so vivid he builds a spaceship from a scattered7 pile of Legos.
But there is a vast meadow of life in the middle, where the bad and the good flip-flop acrobatically. This is what convinces me to believe in the 50-percent theory.
One spring I planted corn too early in a bottomland so flood-prone that neighbors laughed. I felt chagrined8（苦恼的，失望的） at the wasted effort. Summer turned brutal9 -- the worst heat wave and drought in my lifetime. The air-conditioner died, the well went dry, the marriage ended, the job lost, the money gone. I was living lyrics10 from a country tune11 -- music I loathed12. Only a surging Kansas City Royals team, bound for their first World Series, buoyed13（支撑，鼓励） my spirits.
Looking back on that horrible summer, I soon understood that all succeeding good things merely offset14 the bad. Worse than normal wouldn't last long. I am owed and savor15 the halcyon16（宁静的） times. They reinvigorate（使复兴） me for the next nasty surprise and offer assurance that I can thrive. The 50 percent theory even helps me see hope beyond my Royals' recent slump17, a field of struggling rookies sown so that some year soon we can reap an October harvest.
Oh, yeah, the corn crop? For that one blistering18 summer, the ground moisture was just right, planting early allowe(口述我和农村妇女的)d pollination19（授粉） before heat withered20 the tops, and the lack of rain spared the standing21 corn from floods. That winter my crib overflowed22 with corn -- fat, healthy three-to-a-stalk ears filled with kernels23 from heel to tip -- while my neighbors' fields yielded only brown, empty husks.
Although plantings past may have fallen below the 50-percent expectation, and they probably will again in the future, I am still sustained by the crop that flourishes during the drought.