Archive | January 6, 2012

If Heinlein ran the world

I think the more you write the more you want to write! Today I have too many ideas of things to write about, my FB friends are overly inspiring. There are a few articles that I will save for later but this one quote, from an author I love (his books at least, I don’t know much about him as a person) won the inspiration contest today;

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.” Robert Heinlein

So one by one;

change a diaper – Definitely a yes. I can change one in a car, in a plane, on a standing toddler, on a kicking baby, on a kicking-screaming-baby on a plane, and I can do it with cloth with pins, new cloth, and disposable. I have a feeling Heinlein was talking about the kind with pins. Seriously, the more important achievement is being able to wash the diaper but that is NOT on the list

plan an invasion – Yes I think I could. I did military ROTC and I’ve read a lot so if I had trained people I think I could make it happen. On a smaller scale, I can definitely plan an invasion plan of a store for serious efficient shopping; I can do tactics and strategy and I know the value of studying the field before you go and if that is impossible keeping an open mind about the options around you

butcher a hog – maybe. I could pick out the organs at least but I don’t think what I would do to dismember it would be considered butchery. Maybe I should read up on it just in case.

conn a ship – I had to look up conn but it basically means direct the steering. I can do this on a small boat, I have proof I can on a very small boat (sunfish or merc or bluejay) but I don’t think those count as ships. I’ll say no on this one because if I tried at my current skill level it would probably hurt people or property – things I’m not willing to gamble on (unlike the hog, its dead already, all that would suffer is the quality of the cut)

Design a building – I say yes to this. It might look a lot like other buildings but I know the principles so I could design a structure that would stand and be nice to look at.

write a sonnet – yes – again a question of quality but I know technically how and even did it in classes and got good marks.

balance accounts – yes – I even know the right way with debits and credits etc. I spent 16 weeks learning how. More simply, I am good at keeping track of stuff and can do details so accounts are not that big a deal.

build a wall – yes – wood, brick, whatever. I might need help with the heavy stuff but I know how.

set a bone – No – a sprain or cut sure, I would even stich skin but I would not trust someone else’s bone to the level of TV based knowledge I have on bones.

comfort the dying – Yes, but I would be sad. I’m glad I don’t have much (any) firsthand knowledge but I can listen and be calm.

take orders – yes – even gracefully if the leader is decent.

give orders – yes – probably do it far too often in my kids opinion

cooperate – yes – can’t get far without this one

act alone – yes – again, kinda a life skill here… I hope nobody says no to this one.

solve equations – maybe – I can do algebra but I don’t want to have my life depend on solving a physic equation.

analyze a new problem – yes – that’s also a life skill, people who don’t think through the problem just end up with more problems

pitch manure – up there with hog butchering – never done it but I bet I could, and, I bet there are even fewer wrong ways to do it

program a computer – I say no to this – I can do lots with cut and paste code but I’m not a programmer. I bet Heinlein didn’t really think it would ever get as high end as it has… or maybe he did.

He cook a tasty meal – Yes – more than one even, from memory

fight efficiently – maybe – depends on the definition, I can usually argue well but not a lot of call for fighting

die gallantly – you only get one shot at this and since I plan on dying at 90 something in my bed I doubt that counts so No on this one.

So more yeses then nos – how about you?