Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Efficient

I've mentioned this before, but as a man with a technical background I find myself doing everyday things but thinking in a technical context. Efficiency is one of those things that comes to mind a lot. I've actually had college courses in efficiency. As an undergraduate I learned time-studies, where we would actually take a stopwatch to a machine-shop floor and record peoples' movements, looking for possible improvements. Ideal training, except that all the really cool sweatshops are in Southeast Asia or Central America. As a graduate student I'm learning about market efficiency and efficient portfolios. I flunked the mid-term, so I'm not learning all that much, but it's being taught nonetheless.

In my everyday life I occasionally think about efficiency in terms of stuff like what order in which I'm going to run my errands. I refuse to just get in the car and go to the closest place, or whichever one is first (alphabetical or otherwise) on my to-do list. I will stop and think about what I'm going to do (i.e. Will I have groceries that need to be refrigerated after that stop?) as well as what side of the street certain things are on and what route will take me to all of my stops with the least amount of backtracking in one direction or another. I guess it's part of my orderly existence.

But tying in with my last few entries about germs and messiness, I had Easter dinner with the family, including the sticky boys and the new baby. The new baby is doing fine, thanks for asking, but she didn't let me hold her. I guess I don't smell enough like mommy (actually a good thing) because as soon as my sister handed the baby to me she (the baby) started screaming and only stopped when I handed her back. It was at the dinner table that the concept of efficiency popped into my head though, watching the two boys cram food in the general direction of their faces.

I don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty good at eating. I haven't actually taken any measurements, but I figure I get better than 95% of the food into my mouth. Again not having taken actual measurements, I figure the older boy is at about 50% and the little one gets maybe 30% into his mouth. They're both good eaters in the sense that they aren't picky and they're always hungry, not unlike myself. I know you're thinking it's not fair to compare myself to a 4- and a 2-year-old, given that I have almost 30 more years of eating experience than they, but considering my ex-wife on a good day would get maybe 75% into her mouth it's not a foregone conclusion that experience equals efficiency. Those of you without kids or a messy eater in your life might be wondering what happens to the other 5-70% of the food? Clothes are largely the victim of the experienced, yet inefficient eater. Hair seems to run a close second there. For the inexperienced eater, add hands, face, nostrils, ears, and often the back of the neck to the list of things needing to be cleaned after a meal, not to mention floors, walls, and ceiling. The interesting thing though, is that despite the inefficiency of consumption that the boys exhibit, they're still growing. Logically I would have thought it made more sense for people to start out as highly efficient eating machines, when the body needs fuel to grow, with efficiency tapering off once we stop growing. I would expect to see a lot more 30-somethings with food all over themselves, not just my ex-wife.

10 Comments:

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Esther said...

I'm having this image of you sitting at the table with some messy eaters and imagining what they would look like wearing a bib ;)

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger evilsciencechick said...

My boobs catch a lot of fallen food. It's like I have a catch tray for crumbs.

Stupid boobs.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Badaunt said...

Watching children eat I'm always amazed at how little food actually gets inside a child, and suspect that greater efficiency is the primary cause of adult obesity.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Allie#3ga said...

i agree with the science chick. i have what i call a "shelf" for the food ... the best part is when you change clothes and there's a grain of rice or something in the bra.

it's very sexy.

 
At 9:52 AM, Blogger Kate the Peon said...

Didn't Cheaper by the Dozen explore time efficiencies?

Congrats on your 95%+ food ratio. That must be hard to do with finger food, considering your tiny hands and all.

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

with all of your efficiency, you left out your point.

dur.

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jethro said...

I'm sorry. We had been drinking margaritas and our coordination was off a little. LOL!

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Heather said...

You're so weird.

I like it.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger mellancollyeyes said...

i also am going to agree with esc. The boobs are a magical catch all, and provided it's out, the clevage becomes a secret storage place, whether the bearer of said cleavage is aware of it or not.

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger Heather said...

I went dancing tonight. I wore a skanky dress. It was all very typically college. Aren't you proud of me?

P.S. Do you still watch Joan of Arcadia? Could you BELIEVE Friday's episode?!

 

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