O = 0

October 2, 2005 at 10:17 am | In yulelogStories | 4 Comments

When I was still a “real” professor, I had laryngitis two or three times. It was really weird — didn’t hurt or and was short-lived, yet suddenly the output from the vocal chords was zero. If “Output” were written as “O,” the equation would read O=0. Funny, eh?

We had a handyman at the house when it happened the first time, and he said, “Wow, can you give that to my wife?” Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk — hee-haw funny? …No, not really at all.

Psychologists could have a field day with the fact that I came down with zero-output vocal chords when I was supposed to be “professing,” and now they could have fun with this one: I have a full-blown tendonitis in my right wrist and hand (from excessive mousing in ergonomically non-correct positions on my defective iBook while seated on a broken chair I got from the Salvation Army at a collapsible buffet table that’s too high off the ground). If you write, afflictions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis are effectually the equivalent of “professional” laryngitis. If the keyboard is my soapbox, it’s all washed up right now. Postings will be lighter, shorter for a while; mousing & surfing curtailed.

Laryngitis goes away by itself. Tendonitis is potentially far nastier and not as impermanent, so I’m thrown into a bit of a funk over this. And, like everyone else in the house already does, I now have to learn to use a trackball. I haven’t found a trackball design that works well for me. But it looks like the ergonomics experts are right.

Ironically, I’m engrossed in Donald Norman’s straight-talking and brilliant book, The Design of Everyday Things. I could give it a subtitle: And How They Can Snap Your Wrists Off If You’re Not Careful…

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