by Newt Harlan
I’ve noticed a new word being used quite often in conversations lately. Of course, the word has probably been in use for some time, but it’s pretty new to me. The word is “multitasking,” and it was originally a computer term which, like so many other technical terms, lately has crossed over into everyday use.
Here’s how the dictionary defines "multitasking": n. The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes.
I assume that when this definition is applied to humans instead of computers, the brain is the central processing unit and the things that we are doing are the two or more processes…like walking and chewing gum at the same time.
To hear folks talk, there must be a bunch of them who are pretty good at this multitasking. Probably the original multitaskers in the business world, as I know it, are the receptionists. They can answer the phone, type a letter, greet visitors and sort the mail, all the while talking on the phone to a friend about last night’s date or this coming weekend’s party.
I couldn’t do that. In fact, when you get very far past the walking and chewing gum at the same time stage, I’m not much good at multitasking whatsoever. I don’t even chew gum very often anymore.
Apparently there are folks who can, or at least think they can, multitask pretty well while driving. You see people doing all kinds of things while tooling down the road. In my travels, I’ve observed young (and not-so-young) girls applying make-up and talking on the phone…I’d jab my damned eye out if I tried that…men shaving, people reading and doing crossword puzzles, many folks eating and drinking, people participating in various sexual activities that I’d best not describe further to a mixed audience, and probably just about everything else you can imagine being done while driving a car or truck.
Newt tells us about himself:
I was born, raised and educated in Texas. With the exception of a few brief sojourns and the 4 years during the Vietnam Era that I spent riding around on airplanes courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, I've spent the more than 65 years of my life within spittin’ distance of the place where I grew up. I managed to cram a four-year college degree into nine years and by virtue of that remarkable feat, I am a former student of six different schools, which sure helps the odds of rooting for a winner in sporting events. The academic standards committee had a moment of weakness and I was the fortunate recipient of a degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
I'm Southern to the bone. The sound of “Dixie” being played gives me goose bumps and I stand and remove my hat. My yard dog, B.J., controls the squirrels, cats, meter readers and peddlers around my place. I’ve picked cotton by hand, plowed behind a mule, churned butter, shelled back-eyed peas, and for the first 12 years of my life, went without shoes from April until October. Several of my friends regularly hold conversations with mules, but as of yet I can’t get the danged mules to answer me. I think grits are as much a part of breakfast as bacon, eggs and cathead biscuits. I think ain’t is a perfectly good word and don’t plan to quit using it just because some damnyankee dictionary writer arbitrarily thinks it ain’t.
I've been married for 30-some odd years and have beaucoup kids and grandkids. I'm now retired after having spent the better part of the past 37 years traveling around Texas, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama, trying to sell steel products. My hobbies, in no particular order, include writing, grandkids, hunting, fishing and visiting the local watering hole to swap honest lies and research material for stories.
Want to read more of Newt’s stories at USADEEPSOUTH? Click these links:
Ol’ Red and the Armadillo
Telephones and memories
Tastes like chicken
That's Entertainment . . . '50s Style
Belly Waddin' Lunch
Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.
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