It takes Jupiter 12 years to make a full orbit of the Sun.

The life expectancy of a game cat in captivity is 12 years. Its life
expectancy in the wild will depend on its wiliness, drought and brush fires,
the luxuriousness of its coat, the aphrodisiac qualities of its paw or penis,
and whether it is the theme ingredient on Iron Chef.

A coconut palm takes twelve years to bear fruit. When the fruit ripens, you
pluck and cut into it, and taste, you will find that you’ve spent twelve years
waiting for rats to pee in your mouth.

The feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys lasted 12 years. The 
television series based on it lasted 5 years; the biennial convention that worships each major and minor creak and crevice of that series continues till today.

It is said that Leonardo DaVinci spent 12 years painting the Mona Lisa’s lips. At the Louvre, the snaking line to see those lips will run you 12 minutes during peak hours, less than three during off-peak. In front of the portrait, you will hear in any variety of languages, “Is that it?”

A wingless bug in Fremont, California, power-walking at a centimeter per minute, would take 12 years to get to San Francisco’s Union Square, assuming it doesn’t get squished on the Bay Bridge. If the bug crawls onto public transit, and it will need a transfer, the journey time is shortened considerably.

Twelve dog years roughly equals 61 human years; twelve cat years, though, are 64. Who has the more stressful life?

What do you want to forget in 12 years? Start now.

Put your hand on your heart. There is a small rest between each heartbeat. In the course of an ordinary lifetime, the human heart—even with palpitations, no matter how many horror movies you see, cheap shocks foisted upon you, no matter how many zero-gravity rollercoaster g-force-plunging thrill rides, marathons and triathlons, mountains climbed, no matter how much methamphetamine, step-aerobics, heartbreak or heart-attack you take on—stands still for, give or take a little, 12 years.

Put your hand on your heart. Every thump you feel is counting down, one more down, to its beat, that last squeeze.

From Gutted (Manic D Press, 2006) by Justin Chin. Copyright © 2006 by Justin Chin. Used with the permission of the publisher.