Thursday, August 25, 2005

Two notes on my personal development:

First, note that I graduated from college 15 years ago with a degree in electrical engineering. In those 15 years I have made use of that degree approximately zero times. Once in a blue moon, someone asks me a question about electricity and I never know the answer.

Today, at 4:21pm (PST), I finally used my degree.

Our family owns a cheap card shuffler. You divide a deck of cards into 2 stacks, and the shuffler will merge them together. My daughter brought the shuffler into my office this afternoon, explaining that it was broken. Rather than merging the two half-decks together, it was shooting them apart.

I rubbed my temples a bit, massaging stagnant blood into dormant neurons. I then invoked the holy name of J.J. Thomson and conjured up images of plum pudding. Then, EUREKA! Inspiration struck.

Using all the powers of my brain, I popped open the battery compartment and turned the batteries around. Voila! See, if the batteries are reversed, then the voltage is reversed, then the motor goes backwards, then your cards get strewn across the carpet.

So, what's lamer? That I think that flipping the batteries on a card shuffler validates a previously unused college education? Or that I'm blogging about it? Please go to and vote.

On a parenting note, I think I've mentioned once or a thousand times that my daughter, Daisy, was a VERY screamy child. She was what babyologists refer to as a Super Screamer. It wasn't that her screams were particularly loud or piercing (although they were), but rather that they were nonstop.

Now, most of the time when a baby screams, it's considered to be "crying", and that traditionally invokes some sort of sympathetic response in parents. They make with the "there there" and the comforting and the nurturing and such.

That was never my response to Daisy's cries. My response was something more along the lines of "OH MOTHER OF GOD!! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP OR KILL ME! UPON FURTHER REFLECTION, LET'S GO WITH KILL ME!!!". Then I'd rip out my hair. If Daisy had had hair, I probably would have ripped hers out.

After the first couple years, Daisy probably screamed and cried like a normal kid. However, the memory of the 24x7 crying stuck with me. So, every time I heard her crying, it was like someone sticking knives in my head. Whereas my wife would provide sympathy, I'd just whimper and seethe. This is generally considered to be an atypical response.

Recently, however, now that I'm beginning my 7th year of parenting, I'm beginning to hear the cries as actual signs of sadness or need, and not an as attack on my brain. The cries appear to be evoking the correct emotional response in my brain, which is weird.

I feel so human. Welcome me.


Victoria Winters said...

Hey. Thanks for commenting. Yes, I was taking roll call because I was getting down about the lack of comments and considered deleting my blog. So, THANKS for reading! :)

Mike said...

I say "screw the readers". Although it's very interesting to me to see if folks read my blog, in the end it's only worthwhile if I like my blog.

That's it. I'm writing a self-help-blog book.

dulciana said...

Well, I read your blog today, and identified 100%. My screamer is not quite three, and I haven't quite made the switch yet. Maybe there's still hope for me...

Mike said...

Dulciana, if you're anything like me, you've got another few years in you. However, note that my transformation from uncaring sod to empathetic doter is still a work in progress.