Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cheat Codes

Almost everyone who was born after the Ford Administration knows what "cheat codes" are. But for my fellow boomers I'll explain that cheat codes are (generally undocumented) special inputs to video games that allow the player to gain an advantage. They usually consist of pressing controller keys in a very exact sequence. They reward the game player with a variety of goodies: special powers and strength for their game avatar, or in "shooter" games, new and more powerful weapons or unlimited amunition.

You can search the internet for game walkthroughs and cheat codes. Whenever a new game comes out, dedicated players try out different obscure combinations of a game controllers keys, trying to find the combination that will give them an advantage in the game.

Game creators are aware of this interest and will make sure that cheat codes are "accidentally" leaked to their most loyal fans. These loyal fans then pass this along to their friends. There is even a market for books detailing the cheat codes of various video games.

My favorite nephew passed this tweet along to me this morning:

I was knocked back on my heels by this bit off tossed-off wisdom.

Proverbs do encode shortcuts to wisdom gathered through hard experience. Proverbs don't substitute for actually thinking the problem through.

Note the many proverbs that seem to contradict each other: "Many hands make light work," vs. "Too many cooks spoil the soup." or : "All things come to him who waits," vs. "Strike while the iron is hot."

But I do love the word image of the tweet, "I think proverbs may actually be cheat codes."

I love the idea that these nuggets of wisdom give us access to advantages put into our lives by the designer; and that if I take advantage of this wisdom I will find myself boosted with new strength, longer life, and unlimited spiritual amunition.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ischemic Attack!

The word is out on the digital street that I was in the E.R. last night, standing in for George Clooney. That's not entirely accurate.

Last Tuesday I felt a tingling sensation in my right leg, as though my leg were asleep. After a couple of hours the feeling passed. Thursday the sensation returned and covered the entire right side of my body. Friday night I checked my blood pressure and it was high. So Mrs. Islander drove me down to the Island Emergency Room.

Checking into the ER when you don't have a broken limb or gaping wound seems a bit false, as though you are malingering. At those prices, though, it's no joke. I could feel the money flying out of my wallet.

Because the issues involved are your own health and life, yet you spend so much time alone in a strange room, time spent in the ER swings from boring to fascinating. Lying in a bed, connected to different monitors, I couldn't get up and walk around, so I had to devise my own entertainment.

The monitors to which the nurses hooked me up are set to sound an alarm if the patient's bpm drop below 50. I have a normally low resting heart rate (49 beats per minute). After responding to the third alarm, the nurse reset the monitor alarm to 45 bpm.

I laid back, relaxed, and slowed my breathing, timing it to my heartbeats. I dropped my heart rate to 44 bpm and triggered the alarm again.

Good times, good times.

I was given a diagnosis of TIA Transient Ischemic Attack (mini-stroke). A CT scan could see no lesions (brain damage), so I'm doing well so far. (No snide remarks from my siblings--I have doctor's proof of no brain damage. Do you?)

Monday morning I report into my own doctor's office and get an ultrasound of my neck and schedule an MRI.

I'll post more as events warrant. You are free to go about your daily lives.

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