Archive for February, 2012:
Where’s my flying car?
Okay, in the absence of that, how about a hover skateboard? Moon colonies?
No, what we have achieved in this day and age is:
1) Hybrid cars that run on innovative new technology. Most of which top out somewhere around 10 miles per gallon less than the best gas cars. Go figure.
2) Cell phones that no longer qualify as cell phones. These are phone/PDA/handheld wireless connections/and constant companion cameras. How many people do you know who no longer wear a watch because they always have their cell phone with them?
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Now, I’m all in favor of personalizing your things. Put stickers on your notebooks in high school? Fine by me. Paint your house you favorite color? Go for it! There’s even a house about three miles from me with a Rolling Stones ‘tongue’ logo on the side of their house. I’m in. Bumper stickers on your car? Sure! Even if they say “Rush is Right.” I think . . . we’ll, I think you have the right to free speech.
I never could figure out the car that had only these two bumper stickers: the first said “Daddy, tell me about trees again” and the second said “Save the Spotted Owl. They taste just like chicken.” I saw that about ten years ago and to this day I have no good explanation for how those two disparate ideas would wind up on the same car.
Yet, after ten years of muddling, it still doesn’t get me as much as this one does: Trucks with balls.
If you aren’t familiar with these – and for your sake I hope you aren’t – these are . . . well, balls. They are a cast of hard plastic (I’ve only seen one model, so I’m guessing there’s only one company making them right now). And they look like a real scrotum . . . except for their seven inch width and three pound weight. People suspend them from the trailer hitch of their trucks. This may be just a Southern thing, but I doubt it.
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Yes, I’m a loser. When I tell people this, friends and acquaintances are quick to offer soothing words of “No, you’re not! You’re successful and everyone loves you.”
But they’ve missed the point. I AM a loser – I LOSE things. All kinds of things.
I’ve gotten much better about it the older I’ve become, but just this last summer there was an incidence with leaving my ATM card at a Taco Bell in Hope, Arkansas. You would think I would learn, but no. I left the replacement at a B & B just outside Gatlinburg, TN a month ago.
I’ve misplaced my car and house keys so often, that I joked about getting a pair of very powerful magnets. I’d put one on my keys and one just inside my front door. This way, every time I walked into the house, the keys would be ripped from my hand and fly to the appropriate spot. (Though I actually know where to get such magnets, I had to nix the idea. I’m afraid I would forget to let go of the keys one day and find my whole hand flying to the magnet and getting crushed there. My father actually put one of these magnets on his fridge and we couldn’t move it. Finally, with a pair of pliers, we were able to slide it off – but it took the paint with it!)
Everyone had those childhood rebellions. No matter how small or how silly those rebellions were, they were attempts to assert ourselves as right. Me, I refused to eat mushrooms and onions. I hated them and balked at the ‘you’ll enjoy them when you grow up’. Aside from the obvious ‘Well, I sure don’t enjoy them now’ retort, I stuck to part of my rebellion. Though I now love mushrooms, onions are still on my top ten watch list.
In junior high, I put forth another rebellion. It typing class we were told that we needed to learn to touch type. 1) it would help us tremendously in the future. 2) there was no way we could ever get fast enough to pass if we were looking at the keys. Well, I showed them! I quickly read the paragraph, memorized the whole thing and watched the keyboard the whole time I typed. Though I was nowhere near the fastest in the class, I did pass. So ha!
But I hate it when people are right. I couldn’t touch type. As a writer, this was a huge problem. It’s really hard to untrain yourself from looking or to learn to do consciously what you can do if you just don’t think about it. Chew on that – I typed so much that if I could get out of my head, I COULD sit back and touch type, but the second I thought about it, I had to look at the keys.
Later during a course book writing project I started developing the early warning signs of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and also made my left arm numb to the elbow. In researching how to fix what I’d done and prevent further damage, I bought wrist braces, got gelfoam wrist supports to put in front of my keyboard and tilted the keyboard away from me rather than toward. And then I came across the Dvorak keyboard.