President Obama gave Gordon Brown a gift of hand-selected, quintessentially "American" DVDs. While laying in bed? reclining on his couch? drinking tea? in his 10 Downing Street residence, Gordon Brown inserted the first movie, anticipating a few hours of relaxation and entertainment. He pushed play and reached for a fistful of popcorn.
Guess what happened next?
The blue screen announcing that his DVD could not be viewed in his region appeared. When I heard that story on public radio I whooped I could have told you that! although it did make me feel better that the president and his staff didn't know any better than I did. (Newer readers, reference Who Knew? part I which explains why I learned about DVD regions.) After hearing that their gift didn't translate to Region 2, the Obama people sent over a new American DVD player to Gordon Brown could enjoy his movies.
This story got me to thinking about how experience is a great teacher.
I've learned it's a bad idea to try to vacuum up an ant infestation. One simply must use poison and vacuuming up a huge population of live ants is pretty stupid.
I've learned that nail clippings and hair does not flow readily through one's sink drain. It clogs. Clogs require clearing drain traps. Drain traps are really gross.
I've learned that there's a good reason for all those open parking spots closest to the baseball diamond: fly balls.
I've learned that I need to label all my frozen vegetables from my garden with a Sharpie marker. Case in point: I made a casserole with a quart of what I thought were frozen tomatoes. It was frozen pumpkin puree. The casserole's flavor was NOT what we all expected.
I've learned that signing up your 6 year old son for a summer school class in dance will not lead to his enrichment in the arts and gender neutrality. He will NOT appreciate a gym full of girls skipping around with long twirly ribbons and steadfastly refuse to join the class. (Shut up. I let him drop the class.)
I've learned that playing tag with garden hoses with spray nozzles will definitely result in someone getting their retinas power washed. This? Is not fun.
I've learned that if you're going to have a bonfire in the woods, you absolutely have to rake all the leaves and twigs into the fire and have a wide clearing of dirt around the fire area. If you don't do this, the fire spreads kind of quickly. I've also learned that these little wildfires will burn themselves out kind of quickly, too.
I've learned that I have no business ever drinking any amount of rum.
I've learned that soggy fields full of mud are the equivalent of quicksand. If you step in, it'll keep sucking you down. Don't walk on it. Don't drive on it. Stay away from it.
I've learned that if you're having a party in your back yard, you should keep the food out of direct sunlight. Especially if it's August. And especially if it's cheese.
What has experience taught you?