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I'll Take $73 Worth of Talent, Please
Okay, so we go swimming last week and my little girl wants to go out in the deep end on a float tube. But that pool had a rule that floats weren't allowed. So she asks me, "Daddy, why don't they allow floats?" So I tell her "Because if you have a float you'll be able to go into water that's too deep for your abilities."

It occurred to me that they don't allow floats for the same reason that the principal in that private school didn't teach computer classes. By now, you've probably figured out this is a follow up to last week's diatribe.You remember the non-drafter that's sending prints out to the shop? That's it. The guy's computer allows him to get in way over his head.

Last week we talked about using things for tools, not crutches. We decided that all this cool technology was wonderful if you had a solid fundamental background for using it. We--well, I'll admit, I was doing most of the talking--came up with the caveat that depending on the technology would allow the skills it replaced to deteriorate.

Beyond becoming dependent on technology we have, we can sometimes become dependent on technology we don't yet have.

Like the time I was talking to a friend who was thinking about getting some exercise equipment. He asked me what kind of exercise equipment I thought he ought to get. I suppose people ask me fitness questions 'cause I have a huge, highly developed muscle mass in my guttal region. Anyway, he wanted to know what he should buy; treadmill, bike, Health Rider, free weights? So I ask him, what kind of exercise is he doing now?
"No, I want to buy a piece of equipment so I can do exercises."
"I know, but what kind of exercises are you doing now?"
"No, you don't understand. I want to exercise, but I need some equipment."
"No, I understand, I'm just saying that if you don't exercise now, equipment's not going to help."
He seemed frustrated. "How can I exercise if I don't have any exercise equipment?"
"Well, you know, jogging, pushups, sit ups . . . "
He laughed. "You've always been such a joker," he says.

If you desperately need a piece of exercise equipment the best place to get it is down at the thrift store. It's a tenth the cost of a new one because a year ago someone else desperately needed it then got tired of tripping over it. Fact: for every piece of fitness equipment being exercised on, there are 50 being used as a coat rack.

I bought a set of books and tapes called German in Three Months. They've been sitting on my shelf for more than three months and I still can't speak German. I'm pretty upset about the false advertising. Same thing with my guitar. I've got all the latest and greatest in books and methods, and they're all neatly sitting on a shelf right by my guitar, but I'm still not a guitarist.

So here's what I think (since you asked): if you're not exercising now, you won't exercise once you get a stair climber. If your house is a mess now, it won't be neat and tidy after you buy that super-duper closet organizer. If you aren't spending time with your kids now, that set of tapes on parenting isn't going to solve your problems.

I wonder. Could it be that the person you are is determined not by what you own, but what you do?

Frank Leany

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