Wednesday, December 9, 2015

"The Advantages Of Old Age"

From a hopefully soon-to-be expanded list, although, to date, I have only found one.  But I continue to be on the lookout, because the list on the other side of the ledger, in both volume and specifics, scares the pants off me.

Okay.  So – ta da – the first advantage of old age:

I have noticed…

That as you get older, you can make a longer conversation out of what would previously have been a considerably shorter conversation, the consequence of that evolution being that, because of the older person’s newfound ability to do that, they do not have to think of as many things to say. 

When you get older, communicating the same amount of information now takes twice as long at least as it used to take.

That’s what I’ve noticed.  The result of this altered arrangement is that, for older people, half as much or less communicational content is now required to fill up the same amount of time, thus providing their “Thinking Apparatus” with a fifty percent reduction in the stuff it has now to come up with.

Which seems to me like it would make life easier.  At least for their “Thinking Apparatus.”

Why is it that, when you get older, it takes at least twice as long to communicate the same amount of information as it previously did?

Because, due to alterations in their hearing abilities, older conversational participants end up having to repeat everything they say (at least) twice, doubling (or more) the length of that conversation while communicating the same amount of information as they did when they were able to hear properly.

What follows, as an example, is not – although it might sound like it – dialogue from a Harold Pinter play in which a mundane conversation is taking place while in the unspoken message between the lines, one character wants to confess they are in love with somebody else and the other character wants to chop them up with a cleaver.  This is instead a loving couple whose auditory faculties are admittedly not as sharp as they used to be.

Resulting in conversations that go something like this:

“Do you know where the scissors are?”

(LOOKING UP FROM THEIR READING)  “I beg your pardon?”

“The scissors.”

What about them?”

“Do you know where they are?”

THERE IS A PAUSE, DURING WHICH ONE CHARACTER TRIES TO REMEMBER WHERE THEY LAST SAW THE SCISSORS.  FINALLY, THE OTHER CHARACTER, BELIEVING THAT NO ANSWER IS FORTHCOMING CONCERNING THE SCISSORS, TURNS AND BEGINS SLOWLY WALKING AWAY.

“I believe they’re in my office.”

(TURNING BACK)  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t hear that.”

“My office.”

“What about it?”

“The scissors.  I believe they’re in there.”

“Oh.  (TURNING AWAY AND HEADING TOWARDS THE OFFICE)  Thank you.

“What was that?”

(TURNING BACK)  “I said, ‘Thank you.’”

“You’re welcome.”

Okay, let’s see now.  How long was that conversation?...  I just counted.  It took fourteen exchanges to ask where the scissors are and receive an answer.  How many exchanges would it have taken when the hearing situation was better?

“Do you know where the scissors are?”

“I believe they’re in my office.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Four. 

It appears that I was way off.  The conversation is not two but three-and-a-half times longer than it would previously have been. 

Three-and-a-half times longer to communicate the same amount of information.  Reducing, by my calculation, the burden on the thinking process required to come up with different things to say by more than two thirds.

That’s a substantial advantage, isn’t it?

Not entirely.

To be honest, the experience of needing more than three times as long to exchange the same amount of information could eventually promote Pinteresque ramifications.

Making it is an advantage in one regard.


And an understandable motive for homicide in another.

3 comments:

Fred from Scarborough said...

... and when scissors are finally located, blue speaker cannot remember why they were needed in the first place.

Josiah said...

Just saw a commercial for Coke featuring Jimmy Durante singing Make Someone Happy. If the sun hadn't set 4 hours ago, I might've gone out for a Coke!

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