22 January 2008

Bringing about epiphanies, one thick skull at a time

Whacking sense into someone with a clue-by-four is easy when the recipient is young and impressionable - 20 years old or younger. Usually there's about three days of outrage immediately after the whack (less the younger they are), and then the light bulb comes on.

Getting light bulbs to come on when the recipient is 30+, on the other hand, apparently requires a month of intense aggravation, fallout hitting third-party bystanders, rifting of communities, and a lynch mob.

The same principles apply. The recipient has to be ready to listen at the time that the clue-by-four impacts. For young'ns it's just a matter of waiting for the right moment. For the old and set, getting them to that point can be really hard.

All in all, I think what I've most learned is that I'm much better at teaching than punishing. And next time, now that I've done it once and have a few new clues of my own, I can probably (hopefully) better contain the fallout and shorten the month.

And here's hoping the recipient does something useful with his new light bulbs.


Anne C. said...

Ah, back to the cryptic posts, after an unusually straight forward one (the human one, not the empathy one).
All is right with the world. :)

Michelle K said...

Another bad day of keeping virtual personalities in line?

Megadeus said...

Anne: It's not cryptic if you were one of the ones in the chat room at the time! =D

Michelle: That sums it up quite nicely, actually.

MWT: After going through all this, I appreciate the jobs that jase and Cruinne and BBR have on Rpol. o_O

Jeri said...

I like your cryptic posts. I can imagine a whole world of possible stories around them. :)

Glad you were able to beat someone into an epiphany.

Nathan said...

Clue-by-Fours? Shovels of Doom? I don't think I shop in the same places as you guys.

MWT said...

Jeri: Feel free to use this post as inspiration for a short story. ;) I'd be interested in seeing what you came up with.

Nathan: You obviously need to go see Shawn about a personalized *TONG!*.

John the Scientist said...

For reasonably intelligent people, 20 or so might be the cut-off. For my clueless students when I was a TA, the cluebat had to be weilded many times, and this was at age 18. For some the entire semester was not a sufficient time period.

MWT said...

Heheh - sounds like you need better aim. ;) You have to watch for the moment that they're actually listening/ready to listen.

Michelle K said...

Was thinking about this too, and either there's something wrong with me, or there's something wrong with the rest of the world.

At age 18 I knew everything. However the older I get, the less I realize I know, and the more willing I am to accept that I may well be wrong about many things.

It seems to me that the older we get, the more we see of the world, the easier it should be to realize that things are not always as them seem--that the world isn't back and white.

OK. Now I'm going to get my philosophical butt back to work.

MWT said...

Nothing wrong with you at all, Michelle. Discovering that the more you learn, the less you know, is what I would consider "normal."

Unfortunately, for all sorts of reasons, a lot of people stall out along the road and stop moving forward. So we end up with people in their 40s who still view the world through teen (or younger!) eyes - and even more unfortunately, getting them moving forward again is very difficult. They just get stuck there, usually with no conception that they're stuck, and they stay immature for the rest of their lives.

Tom said...

Back when I first got sober, I realized I was a wild road rager. Why are all these stupid people doing such stupid things?! There were 2 major realizations that helped me get away from that. The first was that they had a right to be wrong.

The second was that they might not be wrong. Along with the corollary, I might not be right. That really opened me to major change.

As to clue-serving implements, I remember talking with my IBM rep about operator errors. He said I should get the SL2X4 terminal accessory. A Spring-Loaded 2x4. (Whack!) We had a sense of humor even back in the days of the dinosaurs.

MWT said...

"The error might be somewhere between the keyboard and the chair." ;)

Tom: what brought about those two realizations? Was it anything someone said/did? Or did it have to happen on its own?

Michelle K said...

PEBKAC errors. :)

(Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair)

I hate dealing with those errors.