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What Would You Miss The Most?

January 22, 2014

It’s a common exercise. Try to imagine you are somewhere else, or someWHEN else. Books and movies do it for us all the time. We pay our money for a few hours of suspended disbelief. As a history buff, I’ve often thought about life in other times. What would it be like to live during the time of the American Revolution? Or the Civil War? Or the Roman Empire? Of course, when we play these pictures in our heads, at least when I do, I am always one of the good guys. I’m never the oppressed slave. Sure I’ve seen Ben Hur, but he’s only a slave for short period and he triumphs!

But, as distracting as these diversions are, I’ve often asked myself what I would miss the most if I lived at a different period in history. My career has been spent building computer software. Would I miss computers and the internet? Perhaps. But, one of my hobbies is to build things with my hands. I’m helping a friend remodel a house. I spent a day last week ripping drywall off walls and ceilings.

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The only connection I had with technology that day was I used my iPad to play music while I worked. It was great.

My son has a birthday this week.

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I spent my spare the time the past two weeks building him a handmade footlocker. I drew the design and used some door panels salvaged from the remodel. It came out great.

I think I could survive without computers.

How about cars and the ability to travel great distances in a short amount of time? Again, maybe. But, I love road trips. I truly enjoy the travel for it’s own sake. Often the end of the trip finds me wishing to take one more spin around the state before pulling into my driveway. If a trip took a week by train and horseback rather than a day by car, or an hour by plane, I think I’d be okay with that.

I finally narrowed it down. I think what I would miss the most is fingernail clippers.

I’m not joking, although it sounds like a silly answer I know.

Have you ever tried to trim your fingernails with a knife?

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I have a really nice Kershaw knife, that I keep very sharp. Using it to pare my nails is a disaster. They never come out as neat and trim as when I use clippers. And if a nail starts to break and fray and it has that jagged feel to it? I can’t hardly stand to touch anything with that finger until I get a chance to clip it properly.

So, what’s this have to do with business, leadership or teams?

I think we often overvalue the wrong things. For example, for as long as writers have existed, editors have been our bane. There are many excellent editors, but the nature of the publishing process often pits writers and editors against each other. Editors often want the manuscript sooner than the writer is ready to hand it off. Editors change the prose or the text that the writer spent weeks constructing. Even when they are working in concert, the two roles have a certain amount of built in conflict.

You know what I miss most about being a blog writer? I miss an editor. Any of you who have read my meager scribblings know that what my post looks like at 7:00am when it goes live is different than what it looks like at 7:30am when I catch the rest of the editing mistakes that I made. Yesterday I talked about “microwaves.” Years of habit and muscle memory wrote that word as “microsoft” instead. I fixed it every time except the last instance. I caught it before my sharp eyed readers started noticing, but still, the damage was done.

I think I’m a good enough writer that I understand the role of editors. I know I am. But, until I set out to self publish, I didn’t realize how much I missed them.

Like I said, fingernail clippers. We don’t realize how valuable certain things are in our life until they are not there anymore.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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One Comment
  1. Toad permalink

    Pretty box.

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