Jon de Vos: Time-Saving Tips #467 (From the upcoming series)
July 8, 2010
I made a significant discovery recently that has made my life easier. Well, it’s not really so much of a discovery as the formulation of a fundamental principle and the incorporation of this simple truth into my day-to-day existence. I’d like to share this concept with you, in hopes you will embrace it and in doing so, it will improve your lives as well.
I should caution you that in the course of this column, I will be using some very technical electrical terms, terms rarely used outside of trade magazines, like prong, slot, plug and popper, so if you get lost, you may need to refer to Wikipedia where I get the technical information for all my columns.
Wow! Where to start? This concept, to the novice, may seem decidedly devilish at first, but when fully explained, becomes a time-saving tool while preventing carpal tunnel as well. Remember those shape-matching tables that were so much fun when we were kids? Round peg in the round hole, triangle peg in the square hole. Oops. Repeat until accepted to Princeton, then start all over. So much fun.
Let’s bring that concept forward today into a practical example. Suppose you’re plugging in your popcorn popper. Left to chance, odds are 50/50 that your first attempt will be upside-down and the prongs will not go into the slots. This doubtless causes you to toss out a muttered oath as you whip the plug around 180 degrees, at great risk to the delicate balance of tiny bones, nerves, and tendons in the wrist.
Now, multiply this scene millions and millions of times daily across America.
“It is so avoidable,” I said to myself as I sat bolt upright in bed at 3 a.m. in the morning as the solution became obvious to me. “I must inform the world!” I shouted, frightening the dogs.
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I grabbed a pencil and an old copy of the Sky-Hi News and wrote copious notes in the margins between columns. My words flowed with brilliant elegance. Finished, I flopped back on the pillow, smiling. To dream.
In the morning it was incomprehensible gibberish, but I remembered some of the ideas anyway. Before you plug in that popper, look closely at the two prongs on the plug-in end of the cord. One of them is larger than the other. Look at the receptacle you’re about to plug it into. One slot is larger than the other. Consider these two facts, side-by-side.
Can’t you just feel the connection? In fact, the principle is absurdly simple: the large prong goes on the left. The concept simplified is: Large/Left. Further refinement yields its most basic terms: L/L.
OK, so, what? You were expecting Marilyn Vos Savant? That’s a different syndicate.