Monday, April 19, 2010

691 Uni Tasking

691 Uni-Tasking

The first multitasker probably was the first mother. Let's not get into the Adam and Eve thing, here. Also, let's not into Oogla, the Cave Woman, first actual mommy in the world according to Darwin.

The first mother had to change diapers, feed the kid, clean the cave, make dinner for Fred Flintstone and sew woolly mammoth skins into clothing all at the same time.

We in the news business and other occupations have learned -- even if indirectly -- from her.

Call the cops for stories. Check the wires. Write the show. Deliver the show. Field questions and requests (or demands) from home or from parents or from siblings or from friends. Or -- perish forbid -- from listeners, viewers, bosses and news sources.

Once retired, the tasks change, but the multi part doesn't.

Read parts of the paper, dust the furniture, clean the garage, write the blog, shop, return what you shopped for, read the novel, do the laundry, cook, wash the dishes. Not exactly the thrill packed life of a correspondent. But still, it's stuff to do. And after a lifetime of multitasking, it's a hard habit to break.

The advisers are all out there: slow down. Smell the roses (achoo!) Take in a museum (borrrring!) Take a long trip (expensive, but we'll do it anyway.) Learn to dust all the furniture in the same time slot every day. Read the novel or write the blog afterward (or even before.) Watch the laundry go round and round in the dryer -- it's more fun and more interesting than the mid-day movie, Oprah or the Fox News in the Hen house (or the chick house.)

So someone should start a school for uni-taskers. Teach those of us who've spent decades of doing a bunch of things at once to do one thing at once. This is not an easy thing. In some cases, it's an impossible thing. The only saving grace: if you get a "D" or even an "F" in Uni-Tasking, who cares at this age?

Shrapnel:

--Let no good deed go unpunished. In 1998, Maryland judge Edwin Collier, now 86 and retired, let a convicted drunk driver go without jail time. Recently, the same same guy, again in the bag, struck Collier's car, injuring him and his wife.

--Conan O'Brian will bring his loser late night show to bargain basement TBS Cable and not to Fox, long thought to be his next destination. The reason is simple: Money. Fox affils are in re-runs after their 10 PM local news, and reruns and second airings are wayyyy more profitable than a national show that eats up time with its own commercials. But who watches TBS?

--When sister Jill lived in Guatemala, it was nearly impossible to reach her by telephone. But times have changed. Eduardo in Guatemala City was really helpful on the other end of the customer service phone line the other day -- like he was right next door. Except he got everything about the order wrong.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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