I started writing this post in longhand on a paper tablet while waiting for the two AA batteries I’d gotten from the freezer to warm up. My computer had sent me a message that my wireless mouse battery life was low.
I read somewhere a long time ago that writing is a psychoneuromotor exercise, which was meant to extol the old way of writing, using a pen on paper.
It’s an old-fashioned way to write, yet strangely comforting. Still, I wonder if the neural impulse takes the same path when you use a typewriter…or a computer?
Yes, we store batteries in the freezer to prolong the life of them. Doesn’t everyone do that? Or is that just one of many old wives tales? After replacing them, the message that the battery life was low didn’t go away–for a long time.
So much for that. I might have tossed perfectly good batteries, even if they were getting a little old. And it turns out that freezing batteries can actually shorten their useful life, according to one online article.
That makes me a little nervous about the assumption that wisdom is a natural outcome of getting older. My wife alerted me to this article about managing aging health care professionals. The author sounds a little more ambivalent about the topic in the text than the title indicates.
One the other hand, The University of Virginia Health System has had a requirement for several years now making it mandatory for a doctor to undergo a neurocognitive and physical exam when she hits 60 years of age–or risk losing her hospital privileges. The exam take 4 hours and cost the physician’s clinical department $2,000.
Not everybody like the idea, even acknowledging the truism that even doctors can get too old to do what they do, or what they try to do in an already highly regulated health care system. It sounds like ageism to me.
Just because we’re getting older doesn’t necessarily mean we need to retire. There’s an admittedly imperfect analogy to the passenger train, which was retired a long time ago. Many lamented its passing, including E.B. White:
If our future journeys are to be little different from flashes of light, with no interim landscape and no interim thought, I think we will have lost the whole good of journeying and will have succumbed to a mere preoccupation with getting there. I believe journeys have value in themselves. and are not just a device for saving time–which never gets saved in the end anyway. Railroad men should take courage when they look at a jet plane, or even at a poky old airliner circling at two hundred miles an hour over an airport waiting for the fog to lift or for its nose wheel to lock into position. The railroad has qualities none can take away, virtues that have never been surpassed.–from The Railroad in Essays of E.B. White
One of those virtues can be the awareness of the importance of flexibility and the value of lifelong learning.
I took our batteries out of the freezer.