"And what happens if a herd of hypothetical rabbits shows up?"

I use a computer to organize my life and save time.

This seems beyond my wife’s comprehension.

The other day, I tried to explain the concept to her. “Kate,” I said, “suppose there are 10 things you want to do today.”

“I would only have three,” she said. “If I do three things a day, I figure it’s a good day. No one can do 10 different things well in one day.”

“I don’t like to brag but I can,” I said.

“No, you can’t. You could peel 10 carrots, but you couldn’t buy carrot seeds, plant the carrots, weed the carrots, fertilize the carrots, water the carrots, dig up the carrots, clean the carrots, bag the carrots, peel the carrots and eat them all in one day.”

“You’re talking about a long-term project and, with a computer, you can take 10 things and set up a flow chart. Makes life a lot easier.”

“A flow chart?”

“Right, prompts you do things in order,” I said.

“When you grow carrots, you have to do them in order,” she said. “You can’t bag carrots before you plant them. And you certainly can’t wash carrots before you dig them up.”

“I’m talking about a hypothetical situation. Suppose you’re building a bridge.”

“You can’t build a bridge out of carrots,” she said.

“I’m talking about a hypothetical bridge.”

“And what happens if a herd of hypothetical rabbits shows up?” she asked. “How long do you think your carrot bridge would last?”

“Honey,” I said. “Let’s talk about real problems. What do you have to do today?”

“Go shopping, see my mother, and get gas for the car.”

“Wouldn’t a list help?” I asked.

“A list of what?” she asked.

“Of your three things,” I said.

“I’m only doing ONE thing this afternoon,” she said. “Mother and I are going shopping.”

“That’s two things, honey.”

“It’s one thing,” she said. “Mother and I are going shopping.”

“Okay, it’s one thing, but you have to get gas.”

“If we don’t get gas, we can’t go shopping. Getting the gas is part of going shopping. Unless you get the gas.”

“Okay, it’s all one thing,” I said.

“It’s one thing my way; it’s two yours,” she said.

“You want to explain?”

“Sure. I’m going shopping with my mother. That’s one thing.

“The second thing would be writing it on your silly computer; First I have to turn on the computer, then I have to get into some silly program, then I have to type ‘we’re going shopping,’ and I hate typing, then I have to turn on the printer and put some paper in it and get the list printed, then I have to fold up the list and store it in my pocket.”

“Your second task involves at least seven sub-tasks. That’s a list if I ever saw one. Can’t you see how it’s easier to keep track of a list with a computer?”

“You wouldn’t have to do any of them if you didn’t have a computer. Will you fill up the car with gas?”

I drove the car to a service station, gassed it and brought it back.

Kate said thank you and left.

When she came home, I helped her unload 22 things from the trunk. “How much stuff did you buy?” I asked.

“I went shopping for groceries. Groceries are one thing,” she said. “And please stop trying to complicate life when I have two more things to do today.”

“What?” I asked.

“I’m going to build a bridge out of carrots and throw your computer off it.”

“That sounds like one thing,” I said.

“You’re learning,” she said.


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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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