Tuesday, June 16, 2009
If It’s Broke Fix It
More years ago than I care to remember…ah dear what a ridiculous affectation for a man of a mere my age to adopt. It was of course the early eighties, well the first half off them at least. I developed an imaginary school subject entitled ‘Car Studies’. I used this as a vehicle….heh heh …did you see what I did there?....I used this as a method of explaining to parents of prospective students why computer studies might not be a particularly suitable subject for the apple of their eye.
The mere title of the subject was enough to make a certain type of adolescent salivate at the prospect. Unfortunately, at the time, it involved a lot of pseudo machine code with the acronym ‘CECIL’ and far more history of Pascal, Liebnitz and Babbage than a committed games player was likely to be interested in.
For a few years the conversation went thus.
“Well you see Mr Hallett we bought him a computer because we knew it would help and he’s never off it. He knows everything!”
After exploring the fact that the real interest may be playing games on the ‘Speccy’ …this was in the years before the interwebby thing, I used ‘Car Studies’ as an example.
“Imagine Mrs Jones that you wanted your son (Other student genders were available but I seldom had the same problem with female students) …that your son wanted to do ‘Car Studies’. He might confuse the subject by thinking that he was going to be learning to drive fast cars in a safe manner and in fact find out that he was doing some mechanical work with a little bit of internal combustion theory thrown in for good measure..
Many of us see the value of learning to be a driver but few of us want to be mechanics. While Computer Studies has computer in the title I really think he may be mistaking …..”etc etc.
I am sure you get the drift. And I am equally sure it did little good even after you had got over how patronising I was.
Today someone did it back to me.
A therapist was trying to explain to me that the concept that failure was not bad or good in itself but that we invested the word with meaning.
“You wouldn’t for example pronounce that a car was ‘bad’ because it had failed its M.O.T….”
Leaving aside for a moment the degree to which people do anthropomorphise the inanimate I started down a new track…
Coming soon to all good academic bookshops. The Hallett Guide to Dialectical Behaviour Therapies and the Art of Car Maintenance.
….I am going to have to come up with a snappier title.
The picture. I was very pleased with the combination of a mist flowing down the river to the sea and the sunrise this morning. If you werent up early enough here it is.