|Or the answer to parts of clerical drag, |
or parts of speech, or parts of heresy, or. . .
It's a handy little skill, even in the era of smartphones, because it allows me to reject huge numbers of oppressive suggestions out of hand, because I can do the math.
For example, there is that whole series of annoying books (books, how quaint): 1000 Places to See Before You Die, 1000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You DIe.
When these books first started appearing, I was a bit younger, and although I never even picked them up in a bookstore (bookstore, how quaint) and riffled through them (try riffling your Kindle, ker-thunk), their very existence made me feel inadequate. I just knew they included places like Machu Picchu (sorry,altitude sickness), or the Great Wall of China (sorry, monument to misery and paranoia), or tourist treks involving seasickness, dysentery, or odoriferous funeral practices (sorry, Ganges River, one of the five most polluted rivers in the world.)
Now, I just do the math and laugh. Let's see, if I have the great good fortune to live 20 more years, or a 1040 weeks, I would have to spend every minute of every day multi-tasking like made to try and catch up with my more adventurous friends, some of whom have probably seen 800 or so of the must-sees.
Scenario1. Trouserville, floating down the Amazon River scouting for piranhas with one eye, reading Middlemarch (wait, didn't I read this in college?) with the other, worrying about the plane connection to Yosemite or Yemen or the island of Yap, and sneaking peeks at a mildewed copy of Captain America.
Scenario 2. Trouserville, flopped on a chaise lounge, staring at a chickadee, glass of prosecco and a copy of People magazine to hand.
I don't even need to do the math to compute the probability.