Friday, April 11, 2003

Let us have a moment of silence for my top 10 list of The Best Ideas Ever:

1. Birth control
2. Free Mobile-to-Mobile on Edge Wireless Calling Plan
3. Personal hygiene
4. Appliances
5. The flightless bird
6. Clothes
7. Transportation
8. Wonder Woman
9. The Kazoo
10. Vaccinations

No really. Take a moment. Inhale. Exhale.

Now, on to something that was not such a great idea: Daylight Saving Time.

I hate Daylight Saving Time, almost as much I hate Darth Vader.

I used to think that Benjamin Franklin invented both the light bulb and Daylight Saving Time. But I was wrong. Then I thought that Benjamin Franklin invented the light bulb and Einstein invented Daylight Saving Time. Still wrong. So don't quote me. Now I think that Benjamin Franklin invented Daylight Saving Time, although they didn't put it into practice until until well after the light bulb was invented.

Not only was the light bulb invented by some other guy (Edison), it just doesn't make sense that the same guy would invent the light bulb, and then proceed to lobby the government to implement Daylight Saving Time. He would know better than to invent the light bulb and THEN set about finding a way to stop us from using it. That's what competitors and anti-trust lawsuits are for.

So when one of Edison's competitors started inventing things, I bet he thought, "Nothing I invent will ever hold a candle to the light bulb." That's when he set his evil plan in motion. Because "If you can't beat them, at least you can sabotage them."

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

How can it be so hard for you to do those everyday tasks that everybody else manages to get done? What HAVE you been doing all day?

It’s kind of like this:

Some people know the alphabet backwards and forwards, and if they have something to file, they know that K comes after J and before L.  They can do that type of work quickly.  In order for me to remember that K comes after J and before L, I have to hum the alphabet song.  Therefore, I would not make a good secretary, unless I could find an employer who is fond of the alphabet song.  It takes me longer to file things. It also takes me longer to look up anything that is listed in alphabetical order, like a name in the phone book or a word in the dictionary.  I just keep humming that alphabet song.  A lot of everyday tasks just take me longer, because they are about as easy for me to do as filing is for someone who doesn't automatically know how the letters are arranged in the alphabet.

Now add interruptions.  I am halfway through the alphabet song and someone interrupts me.  NOW how much longer will it take to do the filing?

This brings me to the issue of WORKING MEMORY.  It’s what allows other people to continue to attend to something from one moment to the next.  Apparently, other people can be unloading the dishwasher, stop to answer the phone, and then go back to unloading the dishwasher!  Me, I unload a little of the top rack, then get bored and unload a little of the bottom rack.  If I get interrupted, that may be the end of that.  To make things worse, I interrupt myself.

I walk past the laundry area and see a shirt that is only partly folded.  While I was folding that shirt, I must have thought of something else that needed to be done, and unless I want to forget, I have to do everything (or write it down) the second I think of it.  There sits that shirt.

OK, so I’m supposed to be cleaning the house and I find myself doing something completely unrelated to cleaning the house!  How did that happen?  I had a thought, and I have to do everything (or write it down) the second I think of it, or it will be gone forever.  In this case, I decided not to write it down.  So what have I been doing all day? Apparently, saving myself the trouble of writing things down.  I sure am glad I didn’t waste any paper today.


Sunday, April 06, 2003

My wants are few. For one thing, I want to be omniscient (basically, all-knowing). When I was a teenager, I thought I was well on my way. But as time passed, it dawned on me that it was just arrogance - a good substitute, in a pinch. For example, often when I’m walking with other people I will realize that THEY THINK I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING and are following me. Of course, some people might say that you shouldn’t walk confidently in front if you don’t know where you are going. But I’m actually following them, because I look back every so often to see if they are still there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this is a technique to “get anyone to follow you.”

But back to the subject of omniscience. Of course I won’t get there overnight, which really annoys me. First I have to move through some stages. This is where “The Four Stages of Learning” comes in. According to this concept, I’m incompetent. But more on that later.

The first stage is Unconscious Incompetence. You don’t know what you don’t know. You have more confidence than ability. Most teenagers and people who walk confidently into walls fall into this category. I wonder if you stay at this stage until you figure out exactly what it is you need to learn, even if you know you need to learn something. At any rate, don’t sign any important papers when you are at this stage. (Unfortunately, most marriage licenses are signed at this stage.)

The second stage is Conscious Incompetence. You know that you don’t know. This is where I get excited, because I may be incompetent now, but just WAIT until I become fully aware of it!

The third stage is Conscious Competence. You’ve learned the skill, but it hasn’t become a habit. You have to consciously perform the steps involved.

The fourth stage is Unconscious Competence. You have repeated the steps so many times, it’s become automatic and does not require your full attention.

If this Omniscience thing doesn't pan out, I may consider Arrogant Incompetence. Think of it as a new category between Unconscious and Conscious Incompetence. Because, in this world of instant gratification, I can have it now. So don’t follow me, because I don’t remember where we parked.