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April 27, 2019: The ABC’s of Listing S is for Subtraction

I have never enjoyed doing math, for me this has been right up there with doing puzzles of any kind. That part of my brain was never activated. I recently tried doing a Sudoku puzzle on the plane, so as to remain distracted from the fact that I thought I was going to die any minute, and I didn’t even enjoy it. There is some mathematical formula involved with those things – I just couldn’t summon the energy to figure it out. My life, actually, is one where I just go around blithely filling in the blanks.

Addition and subtraction are both very exacting endeavors. As far as lists go, the unspoken rule is that you cross out completed tasks. You should not cross off

what you meant to do because good will does not cut it. Oh, you can cross off whatever you feel like crossing off, but not if you wish to be self-accountable.

You can make another list tomorrow because as they say, tomorrow will be another day. But you can’t abandon that which you said you were going to do but did not do. This is disingenuous. And those who are disingenuous are untrustworthy. This trait is easy to spot. A disingenuous person’s facial expression always gives them away. There are over 500 facial muscles and 350 of them tighten when they are being deceptive.

Best to just fess up and put a sign around your neck, in this particular instance it should read “I crossed something off my list that I ought not to have crossed off.” That’s the big oh oh. Doing this is a common courtesy in that it puts the wrong doing right out there on the table. And, if you are wanting to clear a dozen or more tables, you could list all your dishonest traits on the back of the sandwich board.

Some, like me, hedge and practice delayed subtraction, which is indefinitely postponing what needs to be done. Time here for a really true confession. I’ve moved items from list one to list two to list three to list four to list five to list six, to list seven. For instance, trips to health care providers have leapfrogged from one list to the next, with considerable abandon. And when was the last time you had a pap smear? I’ve put this off because I think such things cause the very problems that are meant to detect.

I am now old and wise enough to know that which leapfrogs eventually gets done because with each successive move, it becomes more imperative that it get done. Hence, the words “Get a Mammogram” are now on list seven and not going to list eight.

This leapfrogging is like subtraction in that it goes hand in hand with the concept of borrowing. You take one numerical group and use it in another. I didn’t ever get far with this because I instead spent time pondering who it was that figured this out? Ahh, this is the life of a list-making cognitivist.

Next: 118. 4/28/18: The ABC’s of Listing: T is for Transitions

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