- My first lesson in logic came over a family dinner. We had corn on the cob and I was deemed old enough to butter and salt my own. The first time I picked it up I dropped it immediately. Man, it was HOT. I tried again a moment later. I could barely hold it, so I set it down again. Tried again - this time it was uncomfortable but bearable. I buttered it, salted it, and bit into it. It burned the Hell out of my lips. I dropped it quickly. My father shook his head, looked at me, and said, "Goddamn kid. If it was too hot for your fingers what did you think it would do to your lips?"
This was the first time that I consciously understood that one could reason from point A to point B. Better late than never.
- It was a hot day during the summer vacation between first and second grades. Running around in the heat, I built up a pretty good thirst. My mind wandered to a large bottle of Pepsi-Cola in the refrigerator.
Open the screen door, through the living room, into the kitchen. It was a weekend or a holiday, because my dad was home. I asked for some Pepsi-Cola and he snagged a tall glass and the Pepsi-Cola bottle, which must have been too large for little hands, because he poured. Or it may simply have been that the table top was too high for me.
The kitchen table was slightly below eye level and I reached up to hold the bottom of the glass while Dad poured. At some point I must have become frantic with desire for that drink, because without thinking (obviously) I suddenly snatched the glass off the table and began drinking. Only then did I realize that I had left Dad pouring Pepsi-Cola onto an empty table.
- Home alone, I was broiling a steak. After a couple of minutes I grabbed a potholder and opened the broiler to turn the steak over. As I did so, I heard just the slightest noise, as if something solid but tiny had fallen onto the floor. I turned the steak over, closed the broiler, and checked the floor. Sure enough a tiny metal nut had come unthreaded from something or other related to the broiler.
With thumb and forefinger, I picked it up.
With thumb and forefinger, I tossed it into the air to get metal that had been heated to 500 degrees or more away from my flesh.
Before it hit the floor again I said aloud, "How could you be that Goddamn stupid?"