Things I Have No Idea How to Do

I was listening to the radio today (KYW1060 news radio, as usual), and a story came on about a peaceful demonstration that took place yesterday at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia called “Tokin’ Back the Wall.”

Originally, the gathering was meant to protest a ban the city had put in place on people sitting on the walls in the iconic Rittenhouse Square. The decision to impose the ban last week stemmed from “continuous vandalism and marijuana smoking.” The walls are a popular place to sit during lunchtime when the benches get filled.

The city removed the ban a couple of days later, and Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted:

followed by

Yesterday’s event was held at 4:20 p.m. and was designed to show the public that marijuana smokers can be responsible park patrons. After the group members took a perch on the wall and lit up their joints, they each then graciously headed to a Philadelphia Police processing van to receive a citation. Small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in Philadelphia, but it is still illegal. Possession is a $25 fine and smoking is $100.

After I heard the story, one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was that if I had wanted to take part in such a protest, I would have no idea how I could acquire marijuana. I assume that there is some pot smoking that goes on at Villanova, but it’s not like I could ask any of my students if they know where I could get my hands on some of the stuff. (Now when I was in California, it seemed as if it would have been quite easy to get my hands on some pot.)

After I thought about it for a while, I then started thinking about other things I don’t know how to do, and I realized I am as clueless now as I was in high school.


Here’s a brief list of things I know nothing about:

  • I’ve always wondered how people get their hands on illegal guns. Not that I want a gun, but if I did, and I wanted to keep it on the down low, I would have no idea how to even begin such a quest.
  • I’m currently reading the Grapes of Wrath, and there’s a good deal of talk in the book about taking care of cars. I know that changing the oil is one of the simpler tasks, but it’s one that I am clueless about.
  • I’ve never tied a bow tie, and as a result, I have no idea how to do so.
  • If an organization asked me to be its accountant, I would have no idea how I could set up a system to steal money from the company, while leaving no trace of my fraudulent activity. This despite having worked as a n accountant and taught accounting for over 30 years. It’s not the sort of stuff we teach in our curriculum.
  • Our kitchen sink has had a slight leak for a while now, and once it gets to be too much, at that point I will take action and call a plumber.
  • I’ve always wanted to be able to do a muscle-up, but at this point, it’s probably one of those things that I have to face the cold hard facts about.
  • If I needed a fake passport (assuming such a thing exists), I would be SOL. Unfortunately, that is my real high school I.D. above.
  • I have no idea how to skin a dead animal (I’m not even sure that’s the right word), or clean a freshly caught fish. Much like buying a gun, it’s something I have no desire to do, but for some reason it seems like it could be a useful skill.
  • I’ve never used a needle and thread, and if I had to use one, I think I could get started, but I can’t conceptualize how you finish.
  • I’ve tried for 751 straight days, but I have no idea how to make a blog post go viral.

Unfortunately, this list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here.

I realize many of the items mentioned above involve illegal activities, and so perhaps it’s a good thing I don’t know how to do such things. But at the same time, while I may have acquired some book knowledge over the years, I don’t think I have much in the way of street smarts. But people with street smarts can probably do many of the things on my list above, and so I’m a little jealous.

The only comfort I have is knowing that perhaps some of those people don’t know how to do the sum-of-the-years’-digits method of depreciation…

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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