31 Dec 13

“Multi-Tasking” (whatever that means):

Yesterday, I was upland bird hunting at a preserve here in CO. Our quarry were pheasants and chukar partridge. We were hunting with the aid of an excellent dog whose job it was to seek out the birds and then persuade them to launch themselves into the air within range of our shotguns.

Toward the end of the day, we were walking and talking as we usually do on these hunts. Nothing had happened for a while, so I was in the process of telling joke, a joke which seemed eminently appropriate at the time.

Our guide and others in the party politely looked my way, but our dog displayed no interest in me, nor my clever narrative. He continued to smell for birds, as I nonchalantly distracted myself and everyone else.

In the middle of my joke, a chukar erupted from under the nose of our dog and, amid a furious flapping of wings, took-off out in front of us.

The other two hunters in our the party immediately disregarded me, shouldered their weapons, and shot (successfully) at the fleeing bird. While all this was going on, I stood there and tried to get to my punch-line. Of course by then, no one, including the dog and the bird, were listening!

With most of us, there is a pipeline between our brain and our mouth. That pipeline typically contains five or fewer syllables. When the pipeline is full, I, for one, have to purge it before I can do anything else! So, my punch-line finally came out, but purging my pipeline consumed a critical second and a half, making it impossible for me to get about the business of shooting rapidly-moving birds.

The lesson here, and one that I had to re-learn yesterday, is:

In a critical situation, confine verbiage to just a couple of syllables, and make sure there is a long, silent pause, between each such command.

For most of us it is nearly impossible to talk and shoot (swing a golf club, perform a J-turn, remove our hand from boiling water) at the same time, as I was compelled to re-discover!

“When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.”

Cryptic epitaph delivered over the lifeless body of a nameless bounty-hunter (played by Alfred Murlock) by Tuco Ramirez (played by Eli Wallach), who shoots the surprised bounty-hunter while he (Ramirez) is immersed in a bubble-bath, in the 1966 feature film, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” staring Clint Eastwood