Discover more from The Matt Jankowski Club
The air show brings in a certain type of person
There's probably a band with a good story about their drummer
I go on several 2-3 hour walks each week, and have been doing so for about 5 years now. Some weeks I'll only have time on the weekends, but other weeks I'll get maybe 5-6 days where I can go on a long walk. The first 90 minutes or so is just to work out the kinks, and that last 60-90 minutes is where you really get your walking work in. Gotta keep the machine oiled and all that.
Because I'm a practical person, these walks tend to follow the same basic route, with minimal variation in the roads and pathways taken. As a result, there are certain landmarks I've been walking past for years on end, and so when something changes I notice it.
There's a military cannon near the Hatch Memorial Shell (a bandshell in the Charles River Esplanade in Boston) which for years has been on my mind, because the angle of its barrel is such that it points almost straight horizontally out. I'm sure this weapon is decommissioned and hasn't been fired in decades, and the barrel is quite visibly filled in with cement or something, but - as a cautious person - I try to avoid walking directly in front of the firing path, and when I have to do so, I do so swiftly and confidently to minimize the time I spend in the potential blast zone of anything being fired out of this cannon.
A few weeks ago as I approached the cannon I noticed that it had been moved and was pointing up. Most people who are lazy and don't have hawk-eyes and just go about their lives like sheep blindly stumbling from one amusement to the next would not have noticed this, but because of my previously described discipline around the not walking in front of the thing, I noticed it right away, and I also wondered who had been responsible for adjusting it.
Was this an officially sanctioned adjustment by the park service? Was this some pointless prank by some college students? I didn't know, and I expect to never learn. The amount of time I'm guessing that I would need to spend to figure out what happened just barely exceeds my curiosity here.
It stayed pointed up for about a week, and then returned to its previous horizontal configuration, so now I'm slightly even more curious about what happened. If it was a prank, is that how long it took someone else to notice and coordinate a restoration? If it was not a prank, what event called for the temporary adjustment of the cannon (as opposed to a permanent change)?
I'm almost definitely never going to get an answer to these questions.
Don't wait for your hunting license to get approved
I've got a certain knack for looking at people and deciding whether or not they should be riding a motorcycle. I don't want to call this a superpower, but maybe an intuition. If I see you walking around, I can tell by looking at you if you are supposed to go and get on a motorcycle. I don't think this is actually a good predictor of whether someone does own a motorcycle or is actually going to ride one in the near future - it's simply the knowledge of whether they should.
The main application of this power so far is limited to mentally identifying potential motorcycle occupants as I encounter them, but I'm open to ideas for expanding that application.
I think I saw them at Bonnaroo in '07
Many modern coffee shops have those punch cards that track how many things you've purchased from them and come with a promise that you'll get another one free after you buy some initial quantity. I've seen more than one discussion in person over whether you buy 9 to get the 10th one free or buy 10 to get the 11th one free, and it's never pretty. As a side note - stop yourself right here and don't even bother thinking too hard about it. It's less confusing than the coffee people would have you believe.
In any case, when I'm taking my turn in a line of coffee orderers, and I'm either waiting for the credit card thing to transmit my data or waiting for the baristá to prepare my thing, I'll often reach out with my hand and tidy up the stack or display of these cards, which I think is probably a good way of "paying it forward" or "building good karma" or something, but might also be just another symptom of what is clearly an undiagnosed OCD condition that I'm living with.
Be careful next to brick walls
In various educational settings one is sometimes presented with an opportunity to "test out" of something. For example, a student growing up in a Spanish-speaking household might be able to take one test showing that they are bilingual and get credit for an entire year of Spanish class; or maybe someone trying to transfer credits from a local college to a larger university will take a test to demonstrate their calculus abilities and justify their receipt of academic credits.
This is all well and good and I have no particular objections to the system. I assume everyone who tests out of something takes that time and applies it somewhere else productive instead of taking that class. Which brings me to my point here ... which is that we should bring "testing out" to more areas of our lives.
Let's say you're at work and there's a one hour meeting that you really don't want to attend. You should be able to be like "yeah, this is bullshit, just let me take the test", and then if you answer some questions correctly your boss has to admit that the meeting would be superfluous for you and you aren't required to attend.
This would become even more powerful if you could preemptively test out of entire categories of things ahead of time, and get some sort of badge which gave you the ability to skip things below your station when they came up. Imagine whipping out your honor pass in front of a tour guide giving some safety lecture to a group of tourists and just blowing by the whole group on your way to more fun? Good stuff.
Could this be used in court?
I don't think DNA works this way, but it would be pretty fun if you could dip your thumb into a machine and have it take some blood and run some analysis and then stare deeply into your eyes for a few minutes while it printed out some photo quality renderings of what your parents looked like, based purely on an analysis of your genes.