Monday, May 4, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out, Rob Gordon

I had a movement teacher in college who could often be heard to list her Five Things Everyone Should Be Able To Do, and they were as follows:

1) swim
2) do a handstand
3) do a somersault
4) ride a unicycle
5) juggle

I can only do two and a half of those things, and I've come to terms with that. Because while I think all those skills can be highly marketable and/or sweet party tricks, I don't think that my life is particularly burdened by the fact that I cannot and probably will not ever juggle or ride a unicycle.

But there are some things that countless numbers of people cannot, have never, or will not do that would make their, not to mention others', lives so much easier. Simple things, really. Skills that save time and money and come in handy in an emergency and yet for some reason are only possessed by a fraction of the population.

For example:

Ten Things Everyone Should Be Able To Do (Should the Moment Arise):

1) swim (I'll give her that one)
2) tie a tie
3) read a map
4) sew (basic hemming and tailoring)
5) jump a car
6) change their car oil
7) cook (basic stews and casseroles)
8) balance their checkbook
9) stretch
10) drive stick shift

Which, of course, brings us to the inevitable:
Three Things That It Would Be Nice If We All DID Do:

1) speak more than one language
2) use blinkers when driving
3) fund the arts

I smell a Facebook app.


ali d said...

I was thinking about you yesterday as I worked on sewing some flags for the show I'm designing, and was grumbling in my head, "I wish B. were here. She could do this in half the time and it'd look 4x better."

While I agree that most of your listed skills are important to have, I would have to disagree that they're all simple things. Sometimes people have to work really hard to master things, and have people show them over and over how to do it correctly.

As a former swim instructor, I know this is true for swimming - some people just sink as soon as they hit the water. And I would have to practice for hours upon hours before my running stitch looked anything but hideous. And some people just don't cook well, and should probably not try.

So I say give people a break on the Top Ten. I absolutely agree with your Top Three, but I know a number of Bostonians who would rage against using their blinkers. It really confuses them.

Ozkirbas said...

Actually, I think I can completely agree with this list (except maybe hemming and tailoring, not that it isn't valuable). Or maybe not. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?

1) "Uh-oh. Boat's sinking. Looks like I'm a gonner..."
2) "Well, they're not gonna call me back. Shoulda read Steve's tie post again..."
3) "How far away are you?" "Baltimore's like... two hands away from DC... right?" "... what?"
4) "Man I swear these pants were longer in the store..." (still valuable, just not as big a deal, I think)
5) "... and I never drove again."
6) "$60 or $10.... hmmmm...."
7) "Chinese food. AGAIN."
8) 2 words: Overdraw Charges.
9) "... pulled all my muscles surfing the net the other day..."
10) "... and I never drove again."

Ozkirbas said...

Actually, scratch that on the sewing. I just remember that when I was growing up we used to patch and stitch up jeans and pants when they got holes in them. Really extends the longevity of your pants.

Max Nova said...

I wholeheartedly support driving stick shift. And of course using your blinkers.

I used to be able to do a somersault, but I can still juggle like a pro and swim although it's been a while.

As far as the second list, I was commenting to a male friend (in absolute secret to protect the male code) that I really should pick up more skills in terms of car repair and maintenance.

B.Graham said...

@ali d - I didn't mean that the skills themselves were simple, just the idea that it's a necessary thing.

B.Graham said...

Also, can you tell I just figured out how to implement pictures?

David Pratt said...

Balancing a checkbook is a completely obsolete skill in the age of online banking.

Ozkirbas said...

Huh. Forgot about online banking.

But, eh, that's a lot like saying picking up your pay-stubs is completely unnecessary in an age of direct deposit. Having hard copies is always a better idea than not - especially when dealing with computer systems. Particularly if you regularly write checks in person, as opposed to scheduling them online.

B.Graham said...

Being able to balance a checkbook is still relevant, and very important. At least, from my personal experience, I always get in trouble when I forget about a bill that is automatic transfer every month, or if I write a check or use my card and the charge doesn't go through for several days. Knowing exactly how much money you have at any given point is a pretty good way to avoid fees and recessions. I stand by that.

ali d said...

@Britt - Oh. Well disregard my entire comment then. Sewing is still hard though. But anytime you want me to jump your stick shift car so that I can drive it to a convenient place for me to change your oil, let me know. I'll hook you up.

@Oz - I have to agree with David. If I want a hard copy of my checking info, I'll just print out the transactions page from my online acct. I also save my statements. If the Great Technology Crash ever occurs, I'd be more concerned about my money still existing than knowing how to write a ledger reminding me how much I have left.

It's late and I'm tired; I hope that all made sense.

Ozkirbas said...

@Ali - I wasn't referencing a great technology crash. I was simply pointing out that online banking programs can, and do, make mistakes with individual accounts and that personally created hard copies are simply a good idea to have - as opposed to relying on an automated system to ensure it's all kept correct. That's all.

Jason Heat said...

relying on online records of my account has caused me more problems than i could possibly wish to detail here.

Believe me, you only think knowing how to balance your finances isn't essential if it's something you already know how to do (either intrinsically or through practice). Because for people who don't, it becomes a great white whale.