Parents who can't control their kids in public are just not using the right vocabulary. I find that the line "Stop that or Dad will dance" instantly turns my children into angels. It's simple logic, a quality sadly missing in today's society. No one thinks any more.
Case in point from last week: a phone company provided a broken, unusable payphone on a street corner for two years, and then told residents that it would remove the call box entirely "because no one uses it". See? No logic.
"I can't decide whether this is incredibly stupid, or a genius way to withdraw an unprofitable service," said reader Alun Evans, who sent me the link to that UK story, recorded in the South Wales Evening Post.
I think you're being too kind, Alun. Organisations these days no longer allow logical thought. In France earlier this month, a tax bill was sent to a dead woman. That sort of thing is common enough, but in this case the sender had managed to get the right address for the graveyard in the Brittany region: "Grave 24, Row E, Cemetery Road".
Clearly, someone had correctly updated the woman's address but then failed to do the logical thinking which should have followed: "Should we be posting bills to corpses in graves in cemeteries? Is there a good record of them paying up?"
A colleague, noticing that I was writing a column about logical thinking, told me that there had been loads of science articles recently about the astonishing feats of thinking among birds. She showed me a video of a pigeon flying along an expressway in the Netherlands. The bird stayed in the slipstream (a sort of air-pocket) behind speeding trucks, which enabled it to fly at 100km an hour for more than 20 kilometres.
"This is an impressive feat of logic for a creature with a brain the size of a peanut," she said. This got me thinking that it would be wise to open up the US election so that birds (they could call them "avian-Americans") could vote, and this would ensure a wiser result.
I emailed a nature photographer friend who told me that that clever pigeon's speed was equal to that of the rare white-throated needle-tail, one of the fastest birds on earth. Scores of birdwatchers travelled to an island off the coast of Scotland in 2013 when a rare example flew to that country, he said.
"They arrived just in time to see the bird fly into a wind turbine which killed it instantly." It was fast but not brainy.
Logical thinkers see opportunities where others only see problems. For example, the Internet connection at our home was lost for a day last week when we were late paying the bill. My wife saw the need to race out and pay it. I saw the stricken looks on my children's faces and saw an opportunity to encourage them to move out one of these days.
"In the near future, we'll need to lower the household bills by cutting something off the list of necessities. Hmm, food or internet?" "Food! Food! Drop the food! Please DAAAD!"
You see? Good parenting is all about choosing the right words.
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