Sunday, January 13, 2019

Obsessive Comparison Disorder


The eye doctor looked at my chart, then looked at me. My right eye was bloodshot, red as red can be. Like a vampire’s eyes. She placed the chart on the desk and said: ‘Your chart says that you are 75, is that true?’

‘Of course not’ I was tempted to reply. ‘I only wrote that so I would get preferential treatment. People give up their seat in the waiting room, open doors for you and don’t strike up annoying conversations, thinking that you are gaga anyway.’ Instead, I said: ‘Yes I am 75’.

You look great for your age’ the doctor said, as she told me to put my chin on the chinrest and peered into my bloodshot eye through the retinal camera. As I was trying to avoid eye contact with someone whose face is a few inches away, I wondered if she looked good for her age. I had no access to her chart, but if she was 50, she looked terrific; if she was 40, she wasn’t too bad looking, but if she was 35, she looked downright awful.

I wondered on what facts she based her statement about my looks. How is one supposed to look at my age? She was a pediatric doctor to whom I had been assigned on an emergency basis, so her judgment could not be based on comparing me with her other patients, who ranged between 2 and 7 year olds. Read more...

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Rome is Fun

It’s been a while since we returned from our last trip to Europe. I have already posted a couple of pieces about this trip, primarily dealing with stressful events, but I promised that I would also describe positive experiences. So here I go, better late than never:

When we go to Europe, besides Holland, where I come from, we almost always hit Italy and France as well. Our most frequent destinations are Rome and Paris. However, we also “diversify,” visiting the provinces, for example Tuscany, the Italian Lake District, the Amalfi Coast, the French Riviera, the Dordogne, Normandy, etc.

We usually combine revisiting favorite spots and new places. In recent years we spent a marvelous week in Berlin and another one in Ireland, both of which were new to us. Sometimes we’ll tour some new parts of Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Scandinavia, Scotland and elsewhere.

This past year, we decided to return to Rome, as we have done almost every year for quite some time, then spend a week in Paris, and finally check out the Southwest of France and Spain’s adjacent Basque country. Today, I’ll just write about Rome. Read more...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Dunning-Kruger Effect


“You have to be relatively intelligent in order
to realize how stupid you are” - John Cleese.

Once upon a time a little girl was born. Her mommy and daddy were so proud and happy, that they gave her not just one name but three. That way, if she got bored being called Samantha, she still had two other names in reserve.

She was very well taken care of. There were no brothers or sisters, so everything was hers: her room was hers, her potty and bath toys were hers, her room was hers and especially her mommy! She was ALL hers.

Samantha was very curious to learn about the enormous world she was born in. So many things she had to figure out! Why doesn’t the sun fall out of the sky? Who makes the day turn into night? Where do kittens come from?

Sometimes she asked as many as 300 questions a day and they all needed to be answered because that’s what questions do; they wait for an answer before they go away and make room for the next question.

Samantha was really lucky, however. She didn’t have to go far to get answers to the millions of questions that popped up in her head. Her daddy was right there, on the other side of the room because he worked from home. Read more...