Responding to Asher: August 13

Levi: It is always a good habit to admit when one is wrong. I am wrong about something or someone almost every day. This afternoon, I blushed when a quite beautiful woman seemingly flirted with me on the subway. Minutes later, her boyfriend arrived behind me. Through the power of mathematics, the woman’s gaze and the boyfriend’s position lined up almost exactly. And I was more than a bit embarrassed. But there was a great sense of relief in knowing that I was wrong. And I’m man enough to admit it. So apparently are you. Let us both establish a secret society.

Sometimes, my wrongs almost make me want to see how much blood I can draw upon repeatedly stabbing myself with a spork. It is indeed a maddening and all too human feeling to be wrong, but also quite liberating. (The answer, incidentally, to the spork scenario varies from person to person. You do have to be quite patient. But I’ve found that it takes approximately 136 downward stabs, all aimed at the same spot, before one draws a near microscopic, but nevertheless evident burst of red. Of course, the last time I carried out this experiment, it was more than two decades ago.)

But here are a few facts you may wish to consider. In a six month during 1975, Americans bought five million Pet Rocks. To cite a more apposite technological example, the Sinclair MTV1 is, to my mind, a sleek-looking device. I like its black rectangular frame and the way that you tune into the channel as if trying to pinpoint a radio station. Its inventor thought that it would become a commonplace form of watching television. Three decades later, who has one?

Of course, it’s just possible that the Kindle may prove to be of stronger stuff. But 240,000 units doesn’t represent a paradigm shift. Let us wait this out like gentlemen before offering lofty conclusions. And then we can begin a series of spork tests.

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