In this computer age I am daily confronted by skills that I lack. It’s too depressing to list them here, but you know what I mean. On the other hand, there are a number of skills that I have that are now uselessly out of date, unless I get a job in some sort of museum.
tying a necktie – It’s been years since I wore a necktie. I pretty much stopped wearing ties when I was teaching. I do have a few hanging in my closet, somewhere between belts and pajamas. I may have occasion to wear one in the future, so I probably should practice to keep my skills sharp.
coordinated independence – My drum teacher tried to teach me this so I could play half-note triplets with one hand and quarter notes with the other, while my feet did something else with the bass drum and high-hats. Now the only use I have for this skill is brushing my teeth at the same time I’m looking for dental floss. Like many men, I’m a mono-tasker.
adjusting rabbit ears – This was an important talent, though I sometimes got stuck holding them. Never again.
applying white-out – When I was teaching one of my students came into my office for help. He had to fill out his college application on a typewriter, but all he had was a computer. I let him use our English Department unit. He asked me where the delete key was, and I handed him a bottle of White Out. The stuff does not work well on my computer screen.
juggling – When in high school I thought juggling would help what was called then my “coordination.” I mastered juggling three balls (over my bed) and occasionally could do five. Now I have trouble juggling one.
driving stick shift – I’m pretty sure I can still do this. A few years ago I test-drove a vintage VW beetle, bringing back memories of my first bug, named The White Streak (not really white, nor did it streak). I did OK but did not buy the car.
throwing a curve ball – I never did this well, but I did teach David Eisenhower how to do it when he was on my club baseball team at Exeter. I have not had an occasion to throw a curve ball since then, and I do not see it happening in the future. Knowing how to do it is not the same as actually doing it.
making leather link belts (Kamp Kill Kare, 1956) – I doubt I’ll ever use this skill again, unless the belts come back into fashion. If it does, I’m ready . . ..
What are your useless skills?