A Parable About Timing, Memory Aids And Woodworking (semi-long)

A Parable About Timing, Memory Aids And Woodworking (semi-long)
The end of the year is a good time for reflection and perhaps an opportunity for some insight.
Starting when my son was about three, we used to play “concentration” with a deck of playing cards. I’d shuffle the cards, set the deck face down on the rug and we’d spread them out. I’d flip a coin, he’d “call it”. If he won the toss he got to choose to either go first or last. Didn’t take him long to figure out that, in this game, going last gave you an advantage. Bright kid - yes? Flip two cards over. If they matched you took them and put them in your pile and got to flip over two more card. If they didn’t match they were flipped back to face down and it was the other person’s turn. At the end of the game, whoever had the most cards in their pile won. Simple game - great to play with young kids.
Once he got the idea, he began unknowingly to do things that helped him to remember where each card he’d seen was. He’d say the value of the card out loud, touch each card as he was saying its value, then turn it over, saying the value again before taking his hand away. This routine of See It, Say It, Touch It, Flip It Over, Say It Again was storing the information in different parts of his brain - interconnected redundancy. Remember any one piece of the needed information and the rest are easier to remember. (I figured out what he was doing sometime after our fiftieth game - give or take a game or two.)
Wasn’t long before he was kickin’ my ass - pretty consistently. I’d win once in a while and, on those rare occasion that he won, he accepted defeat graciously, sometimes even with a smile. After a while I realized that most of my “victories” were the result of him letting me win - his smiling should have been the tip off. I don’t know if he knew when I let him win - but I suspect he caught on after a while.
Reflecting on those games of concentration, I realized a) that The Kid was, and still is, pretty bright and had intuitively developed a strategy that increased his likelihood of remembering things. b) that The Kid had a compassionate streak in him c) that kids in general can focus on one task, to the exclusion of everything else - something adults often have great difficulty doing, what with so many responsibilities and other stuff to keep track of.
And that got me thinking about my woodworking and being “retired”.
I’ve concluded that, had I gotten into woodworking while I was “working” AND married and being a Dad, there would have been a LOT of stuff floating around in my head while I was trying to make something out of wood.
My job involved dealing with computers, massive amounts of data, trying to analyze computerized forecast model results, writing up the findings and making recommendations - to “Elected Officials” (read “politicians”).
The wife was a home remodeler. Actually, she’d come up with a wild ass idea and it was my job to do the work to make it happen. “Let’s move the kitchen from over here - to over there.” My job was to figure out how to move water lines, drain lines, electrical lines (110V AND 220V) and gas lines, as well as removing a wall or two - without having the roof collapse - and where and how I’d build a new wall - with doorway, which may or may not require an actual door.
Then there was day care field trips, pick up The Kid after work, later karate lessons, little league, indoor soccer, outdoor soccer, hiking trips, bike rides, fishing trips, trips to the park, summer vacation trips, swimming lessons, and the occasional trip to The Emergency Room - for a cast or some stitches ...
TLet's not forget The In Laws - one BIL who seemed to frequently find himself in jail, in part because he liked to speed, would often drink just before speeding and had a dislike of authority figures, namely the cop that stopped him for speeding - While Under The Influence. So Assault On An Officer was usually on the list of Accused Violations. The effort required to Bail His Sorry Ass Out of Jail wasn’t compatible with a woodworking project’s time, thought and energy requirements. The other BIL - well let’s just say there was a period in his life where he had trouble getting out of his own way. Just getting him up out off MY chair could be a Herculean task.
(Any of this ringing any bells with you?)
Upon reflection NOW I understand why I’ve got no hair, smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, run on Coca-Cola, am two inches shorter than I was at age 18, wear TRI-FOCALS and am finally getting fairly good at this woodworking thing - NO DISTRACTIONS! I’m still working on the See It, Say It, Touch It, Say It Again, Use It, Say It Again While Putting It Away - thing. (Now where the hell are my glasses!?! I've got two dozen sharp #2 pencils out here somewhere.)
The lesson of this story, the moral of this tale - it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun if you get into woodworking AFTER you’ve done just about everything else - AND if you’re lucky, or had a good financial planner (when did that profession come into being?), you’ve got enough money to buy a tool or machine if it strikes your fancy - or 200 board feet of quarter sawn english sycamore (neener, neener, neener) if a deal too good to pass up comes along.
To paraphrase Mel Brooks - “It’s Good To Be Sixty!” (also beats the hell out of not making it this far). Another year full of projects almost over and another new year to play with wood about to start.
May you fill stockings and presents with this year’s creations.
May you make wonderous things of beauty out of really nice wood next year.
And please keep ALL body parts away from sharp spinning carbide or Scary Sharp cutting edges.
charlie b
(now go tidy up the shop - AND PUT THOSE TOOLS AWAY IF YOU’RE NOT USING THEM!)
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
charlie b wrote:

shop class. I started collecting a few tools in college and built my first shop right after I bought my first house. Although I love woodworking, it takes a back seat to all those things you mentioned about raising kids and keeping them fed and clothed, educated and entertained. Thankfully, the only person I ever had to bail out of jail was me. It's a long story, I was stone cold sober, and I was only going 110.
However, I'll always be glad I didn't wait until retirement to start woodworking. Most of my "aha" moments in woodworking come while my body is where it's required to be and my mind is still turning over that conundrum that had me puzzled when I turned out the lights in my shop. As it is, I get at least an hour's thinking/planning time for every hour of working time. I've often thought that most of my projects benefit quite a bit from the enforced time away from the shop.
I look forward to retirement, when I should have plenty of shop time. But meanwhile, life is good here too!
DonkeyHody "If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." - Abraham Maslow
Add pictures here
✖
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.