Jack of all trades. Master of nothing.

So, I had my plan all set for today’s topic (or at least which of several notions I would explore, including more philosophising on Wikileaks and Julian Assange (having had a long discussion with my first-born daughter last night), or the nature of adult-child relationships (having discussed teenage behaviour with my first grader in the car this morning).

I had just gotten home from dropping off my ladies at their places of pleasure, and had just also been watching and listening to a press conference by the president of the European Central Bank, after the ECB had made its rate decision. My trading was supposed to be on hold today and tomorrow to let the dust of a few major announcements settle. While foreign exchange rates were moving around, I watched the Euro fall against the US dollar from 1.3170 as Mr. Trichet spoke to about 1.3060 when he had finished, 30 minutes. Not looking good, I thought. I rued that I had decided not to trade the Euro short against the US dollar. Then the Euro went on a wild ride up to 1.32 in an hour, and on to 1.3240 by 11.30. Nice if I could have caught both sides or even part of one side. This disciplined inactivity is quite trying, I thought. I remembered a radio discussion on NPR earlier this week about how boredom and inactivity are supposed to be good for your health and letting your brain recharge. Right!

I went back to study my ideas for today. Then, I opened my sleek new Apple Macbook Air laptop, which Mr. Jobs gifted me over the weekend (in a bizarre shopping trip to Best Buy, about which I should write), and I was ready to go. But, first, came a warbling sound as one of my Barbadian financial friends called me on Skype and wanted to show off his new computing hardware and tell me how things were going. It was good to be able to match up as we looked at each other in glistening colour. Both happy to be working at home and taking time while our wives and children were out of the house to have some man-to-man talk. By the time we had gotten through and I had alerted to some financial issues that he needed to make himself aware of, I was still ready to get on with the day’s scribbling.

No way, Jose. Our washing machine had decided to stop working in mid-cycle. I can say that I am no mechanic, but I will try to figure out things. Down went my hand into the cold water and out came the clothes. I recalled being faced yesterday with a garbage disposal that had stopped crunching, and how reluctant I had been to put my hand inside, using instead a wooden spoon to free the motor and get it working again. Well, I could not figure out what to do with my GE appliance other than to call the friendly number 1-800-GECARES. The lady on the line was very pleasant and in no time had set up an appointment for tomorrow afternoon, between 1-5pm: no sweat, I would be around. Before she hung up, she asked if there was anything else she could do. I asked if she could suggest something I could try myself. She then gave me some directions that seemed bizarre, but she said were programmed to reset the motor:

  • Unplug the washer
  • Turn off the fuse at the junction box, and wait 5 minutes
  • Set the machine to a cycle, but…
  • Before starting, open and close the lid six times, then, press start

I said I would try to call back if that fixed the problem. It seemed a good wheeze. So, I tried it, and lo and behold the machine was back chugging and banging in my ear like a happy GE appliance should. Who would have thunk it?

So, given that it was now about 1pm, I thought that I had better start writing before my first grader had to be picked up from school. Now, what was that idea that I had really thought about discussing today? Dear me, it somehow had fizzled and seemed less relevant, at least for today.


About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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2 Responses to Jack of all trades. Master of nothing.

  1. Esther says:

    I like the part about opening/closing the lid 6 times; what if you had done it 5 or 7 times?

    • Dennis Jones says:

      We know that 6’s are special and I would not wish to hex that by trying a funky prime number. Now I know that the 6 is good, I will try another number next time to see if that makes a difference. You have to admit that the advice (notably absent from anything on the machine) is the kind of information that’s invaluable.

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