MA: Language and curmudgeonliness
A long-winded build-up
Not a science junky, I paid attention in biology, chemistry, physics, and metal shop. I mean when the material presented was neither too basic nor too complex. And when no nearby lass managed, trying to do so or not, to capture my attentions for reasons I understood less than relativity, mitosis, names of chemical compounds, and the finer points of gas welding.
I took1 degrees in psychology (don’t bother to ask) and a relatively new branch of science. Psychology was to be pre-law, but my first experience working with honest-to-Freud crazy people wasn’t to my liking. I mean, those people are crazy, you know?2 I mean, way-back, you could say, “He’s crazy,” and not be stigmatized as an insufferable Republican. Had I not been discouraged, needing to definitively assess a malady before devising a therapy, today I’d be in a scramble to justify an existing acronym or manufacture a new one.
My “science” degree was all things computers. It was a good program. Graduates were expected to understand how computers of all descriptions worked – physically and programmatically. Graduation required fluency in several foreign languages. One had to demonstrate programming ability.3 I was a “mid-career” student, with more skill and knowledge [in information technology] than half my professors. Some would admit to it, asking only that I keep my mouth shut during open class. Those considering me a heretic consumed, I determined, by two-ton egos, acutely demonstrating that old saw, “Those who can, do…”4
Not really a “man of science” you cannot consider me a rube. But what I know of the physical world allows me to understand drinking water from a glass, when to apply brakes approaching a stop sign, and that a just-welded chunk of metal is probably heavier than I can lift bare-handed.
My education has served reasonably well these last sixty-odd years. I’ve become something of a socio-scientific pragmatist.
Here it comes
There’s a lad comes to visit. Nice kid. Frustrates the snot [the beauty of this word choice will soon be evident] out of me sometimes. For instance, when he has a cold5, he cannot take time from six-year-old responsibilities to cover his mouth6 when he coughs. There are limits to my ersatz “parental” corrective resources. I resort to gentle reminders. When he coughs mid-sentence, I admonish him to “cover his mouth.” This he forgets before my spoken words have skidded across the kitchen floor, slamming into the cabinet baseboard. Again he coughs or sneezes. I repeat. As does he. Something of a waltz.
Last go -round he’d a stuffy nose, a raspy cough, rheumy eyes, but no fever or lethargy.
Guess who now has a cold?
And, friends and neighbors, it is a Lulu! It has been a long time since my last cold. I forgot that when I have a cold I become something of a pussy. I run through tissues and handkerchiefs at an alarming rate. Consume more tea than was wasted in Boston Harbor a few years ago. I use a putty knife to pack my nose with Vicks.
I’m concerned that I do not remember how long this will last. I am more concerned, well, amused actually, about the fluid dynamics involved.
Science Majors – Alert!
How can my nose be at once plugged tighter than a constipated Billy goat and drip like a worn-out faucet? How is it that I can blow my nose to the ragged edge of crimson, yet before the soiled handkerchief settles into the shuddering laundry hamper [having drawn two, count’m two clear breaths] my nose has filled with concrete once again? I weigh one-hundred ninety pounds. How can I dislodge two-hundred pounds of mucous and still weigh one-hundred ninety pounds?
I am confused. Anyone out there can explain?
1 Took: What? You think colleges and universities just gave away degrees because they’ve siphoned-off enough of your money and fear you might go after a faculty position?
2 This before acronym creep, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and Sunday Morning Halitosis were legitimate diseases.
3 No one programs today. Software “engineers” or “developers” drag and drop boxes and squigglies, expecting each to do a particular “program” thing. [Which they never do.] It is today, at best, playing with an erector set or Legos. [I will admit, I know one or two real programmers, people writing real code. The rest of them, far and away most of them, are, [and I know I’ll catch some shit for this] “gamers.”
4 Contrary to your assumption, I had great respect for my professors. Some were just arfking idiots, incompetent Democrats, nice people otherwise. One electronics engineering professor gleefully swallowed spit when I wrote a 3GL operating system simulator that outstripped every low-level program for the assignment in performance, and shamed the 4GL languages as far as function, flexibility, and accuracy. Then, there was the database prof who never would admit that normalization went well beyond and often contradictory to textbooks.
5 Which is often. I’m thinking his parents are of the school believing he should experience as many germs, viruses, and other microbes as he can so he can be a well-rounded and naturally-inoculated lad.
6 Of no particular connection, but as long as I have an audience… This gets me. Nurse types [medical professionals, right?] advocate sneezing into the crook of your arm. Which they do. I have watched. [I have a certain morbid fascination with medical professionals.] This same nurse then, leaning over you to adjust your drip tube or whatever other pretext, presses that same arm, [containing the same “crook of the arm] into your face. Is this by design? Or does the crook of your arm contain a gland secreting Lysol? Um, mine doesn’t. Does yours?
One thought on “Fluid Dynamics – Octember 0xA, 0x7E6”
I hope you feel better soon.