But I Don’t know how!

A friend of mine told me today that her girlfriend doesn’t know how to swim.  I know of people who are afraid of being in or near (large) bodies of water, specifically the ocean, but I hadn’t assumed that these people might also not know how to swim.  I do not like being close to large bodies of water but I know how to swim.  I may not be able to open my eyes while fully submerged but I can float and keep my head above water.   Do you know anyone that doesn’t know how to swim?  Family, friends, coworkers?  If the answer is yes, are you surprised at how many or how few names are on that list?

Speculate more broadly.  In industrialized nations, do you think there are more people who don’t know how to read or more who don’t know how to swim?  Or both?  Compare your estimations of those who can’t swim with those who

~ don’t know how to hit a baseball.
~ cannot reach into their satchel without looking and be able to retrieve an object smaller than their palm.
~ cannot parallel park.
~ don’t know how to operate any musical instrument.
~ don’t know how to ride a bicycle.
~ don’t know how to fly a kite.
~ don’t know how to operate an oven.
~ don’t know how to operate a laundry machine or a dryer.
~ cannot roller skate, ice-skate, or roller blade.
~ have never set foot on a skate board.
~ have never touched a surf board.
~ have never ridden a horse.

Which list would have the most names on it?  If you could combine a minimum of two and maximum of four of those “don’t know how’s,” which combination would have the most names?

Not knowing how to do something in this sense means that while a person can explain the steps involved, that person has never participated in those steps (or has tried at least once and failed miserably).

If you enjoyed reading this entry, may I suggest What’s Worse.

19 thoughts on “But I Don’t know how!

  1. Phil

    I see you’ve had an overwhelming response to your posting.

    Here are my suggestions which you can add to the many you’ve already received:

    Most people in the industrialised world:

    ~ don’t know how to hit a baseball.
    ~ cannot parallel park.
    ~ don’t know how to operate any musical instrument.
    ~ have never ridden a horse.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      I see you’ve had an overwhelming response to your posting.

      Je sais…c’est incroyable.

      How many of those that can’t hit a baseball or parallel park or operate any musical instrument or ridden a horse are male vs. female?

      Reply
      1. Phil

        “…….How many of those that can’t hit a baseball or parallel park or operate any musical instrument or ridden a horse are male vs. female……..?”

        I think that less men than women can’t hit a baseball, although the percentage of men who can’t hit a baseball is nonetheless greater than the percentage of men who can.

        As for the other three activities, the gender breakdown would be about the same.

        Reply
  2. thoughtsappear

    Somehow I can manage to rollerskate and ice skate, but I could never seem to get the hang of rollerblading. Weird.

    I have another one…I just learned to throw a football spiral last year. An 8-year-old taught me.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      I have another one…I just learned to throw a football spiral last year. An 8-year-old taught me.

      Rock on! Do you throw with your right or left hand?

      Reply
  3. jammer5

    People who can’t (insert “can’t” here). Would industrialized versus non-industrialized show different results? Physical skills would probably be comparable, but technical skills would very greatly between the two? Does being brought up in an industrialized atmosphere lead to better multi-tasking skills? Is there a correlation between right/left brain skills and your list? In other words, do people who can’t swim also have a problem with flying a kite or operating an oven?

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      Is there a correlation between right/left brain skills and your list? In other words, do people who can’t swim also have a problem with flying a kite or operating an oven

      I wasn’t thinking aboot that, but there may be some incidental patterning going on between people who don’t know how to swim and people who don’t know how to fly a kite.

      I think any findings regarding the swimming and the reading btwn industrialized and non-industrialized nations would be more compelling as trivia.

      When my friend told me about the “girlfriend doesn’t know how to swim,” I was really shocked. It’s not that I assume everyone knows how to keep their head above water, but it did make me wonder. And, since I knew that not everyone can read, I wanted to know what other people thought about the two. Or even if the number of people who can neither read nor swim is higher than people who are unable to do just one of them.

      Reply
      1. jammer5

        I was pretty much raised on the ocean, so not being able to swim was not an option. But over the years, I’ve met many who couldn’t do one thing or another: play an instrument, ride a bike, wash their clothes. I wonder if many of those are considered “the basics”, as opposed to what one might consider specialties, such as, baking a pie. Where does one delineate, and is it necessary to? What steps (rules?) would one use to create a list, such as the one you provided?

        A curious exercise for sure, and I wonder if I’m attempting to narrow it down to the point it no longer reflects your basic question. My problem is the constraints are not there, so any correlation between, say, those who can’t read and those who can’t write may get lost in the background noise.

        One of my jobs was to filter out noise so a process could be looked at sans outside influences, with the understanding the observation process itself could influence the observation. I wonder if this is not one of those cases.

        Reply
        1. sittingpugs Post author

          I wonder if many of those are considered “the basics”, as opposed to what one might consider specialties, such as, baking a pie.

          Don’t view it as Basics vs. Special Talents. Think of it more like abilities, skills or traits that you sometimes forget not everyone knows how to do. It may just be semantics, but when considering swimming a hobby rather than a skill, then it’s not so surprising to know anyone that doesn’t know how to do it.

          I didn’t include parameters aside from “in industrialized nations” because I wanted people’s responses to be more revealing of themselves rather than a proper educated guess.

          But by all means, if anyone were to come across a study or a pie chart or something with estimates….I’m all keystrokes.

          Reply
  4. jammer5

    I guess I don’t quite understand the exercise in that, to me, it involves pure speculation, if one does not go out and ask questions. Much of the results would be influenced by location, i.e., a person living on the coast would be more prone to know how to swim, surf and/or fish. Where an inland person would be more inclined to bike, ice skate, roller blade, etc..

    Would a person raised in an industrial environment (or nation) be better educated? I doubt there is a correlation between academic and sports skills, so I wonder if a persons predilection towards one or the other effects the list, and how deep it’s rooted.

    I hate pepperoni.

    Reply
    1. sittingpugs Post author

      I guess I don’t quite understand the exercise in that, to me, it involves pure speculation

      But that’s the whole point. I want to know what and how the person commenting thinks and has come across in his/her own experiences.

      Your responses are consistent with what you said about “A curious exercise for sure…My problem is the constraints are not there…”

      Reply
      1. jammer5

        I doubt I’ve ever thought in that way, as it pertains to this exercise. Even the fiction I write is carried over from experiences, perceived or otherwise. When I was first introduced to the computer, a friend told me to ask him questions about it. I told him I didn’t know what questions to ask.

        And to be honest here, I don’t know if I can think that way. I have no interest in whether one person can do a lot of things, while someone else can’t. I can think of no reason why I would want to, other than I don’t think I’d go bowling with someone who hates bowling, and things of that nature. But I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for. Which in itself may be the individual answer you’re looking for.

        Reply
        1. sittingpugs Post author

          I don’t know if I can think that way. I have no interest in whether one person can do a lot of things, while someone else can’t.

          Yah! That is what I’m looking for…

          I’m not a goal-oriented thinker. I ponder things have nothing to do with actions I’ll take or decisions I’ll make. It’s “worse” than trivial pursuit. Remembering (useless) information isn’t always useless, but one could argue that speculating upon the reality or incidence of a series of events or scenarios is a pointless.

          But I wonder anyway.

          “Are there more people North America that have never tasted a fig or never tasted papaya?”

          Reply

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