Birthdays, Knowledge, and Never Enough Time

At my age, with birthdays often come reflections. Sometimes the reflections have value – “What will I do tomorrow?”. And sometimes they are like all philosophical BS…essentially zero value: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “How do I know I exist?”

You know…useless claptrap.

no oreilly

Academy Award winner for Best BS

There is Useful knowledge: how to drive, change a tire, figure out a tip, tie your shoe, do you taxes, run a meeting, etc. And then there is Useless knowledge: how many died in the US Civil War?, how long did Ramesses II reign?, what is the latest nonsense to come out of Donald Trump’s mouth?, what is the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bel Air Chevrolet, with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor? (Hint: that last one is a bullshit question, it’s impossible to answer!)

Useful knowledge is something that you can use that has value beyond your meager existence. Useless knowledge may be of interest to you, but really, in the grand scheme of life, has essentially no value. I have lots of curiosities that fall into the Useless knowledge category. My interests are eclectic, and admittedly rarely Useful But sometimes Knowledge in the two categories can cross to the other side: someday, me knowing how to drive will become Useless. And knowing which early hominid skeleton was discovered in Olduvai Gorge might gain me notoriety in Trivial Pursuit, thus being quite Useful … for a few seconds.

Library_booksAnyway, I don’t write much anymore. Bam. Where’d that come from? Well, I came to the realization that I am 55 (actually…I know that…just had a birthday…but for consideration purposes…) and currently average reading about 100 books per year – some may be re-reads, but most are not. If I live another 40 years, that only gives me 4,000 books left to me to read! Panic!

So I made a temporal choice…temporary, I’m sure…to focus my “unoccupied” time of reading instead of writing. It’s not that I don’t have thoughts I want to record…far from that…I’m constantly narrating in my mind multiple many new blog posts. Not just the narrating, of course… there is always a LOT going on in my head! Multiple tracks. But there is simply not enough time that I am willing to spare to writing those thoughts out.

I try to not say the hoary “I don’t have enough time.” I could have enough time…I just choose to not use it for writing yet. And, in my current mind, that is a “yet”. Obviously, I’m writing now! But I’m busy gathering Useless knowledge: Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin, The Beer Bible by Jeff Alworth, re-memorizing how to calculate the day of the week for any date (easier than it seems…)


And working on some temporarily Useful knowledge: re-writing construction contract templates for my employer, learning how to best vacuum my pond, contemplating what “55” means to me…

Okay…that last one’s Useless.

Maybe I will write some more. Or maybe I’ll get back to reading amidst the multitudinous activities of my life. Meanwhile, this is so not my problem…!


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