Is it OK to Eat Peanut Butter with a Spoon?
It's a quiet Sunday night after a fun and relaxing weekend. My desktop machine is working on a build, with the progress scrolling by in a BBEdit shell worksheet. Elsewhere in memory, my pre-release build of Mailsmith is chugging away on a torture test (rebuilding all 140,000 messages representing nearly 2GB of stored mail and database indices), and I'm conversing with a couple of friends in a couple of different iChat windows.
I've got a search results window in BBEdit showing 34 occurrences of a function call that needs to be replaced with something a little more modern. As I stare at this, wondering at the tedium of repeating the same process thirty-four times (write new strings, wire up a dialog/sheet, test, document, check in, lather, rinse, repeat) it occurs to me that my professional career began almost twenty years ago to the day (week, at least). I've been at this a long time, to be sure. (Aside: it's funny how, in this futuristic year of 2005, I make my living using the finest technology of the mid-1980s.)
So, time for a peanut butter break. It's definitely tempting to dip the spoon in and pull out a standard consumption unit of peanut butter, especially if the peanut butter in question is the grind-your-own stuff you can get at some grocery stores, and it's made from honey-roast peanuts. When it's that good, is it worth the effort to dig out the sliced bread and strawberry preserves? Or is it OK to grab the butter knife and lay the peanut butter thick on whatever bland Anglophone-branded crackers happen to be around? (That may in fact be the only option at the moment: bread is not in evidence.)
Then there's the floor-mopping problem. I'm not a huge fan of housework, but I'm also not a slob - I do manage to keep the place reasonably clean, if not always well organized. I keep getting blocked on mopping the floors, though. It's such a huge pain in the ass: sweep, spray some sort of noxious cleaner in the corners, drag out the bucket, fill it with water and a little more of that noxious cleaner, grab sponge mop, mop, rinse, put everything away. So it's been a long time since I've mopped.
I was complaining about this to my sweetie, and she opined as to how everyone had something they get blocked on, be it mopping the floor, cleaning up old code, emptying the basement, whatever. She then proceeded to tell me how she mops floors, and we made a project of it - first to secure proper implements (a basic rag mop, not to be confused with whatever whizbang gadget the marketing people think you ought to have), then a demonstration of the proper technique (fill sink with very hot water and Lestoil, slop the solution on the floor, being sure to get in the corners, let it sit, then repeat once, then rinse the mop, mop up, and dry). And then I was on my own. Sure enough, it worked just like in the movies, and my floors are cleaner than they've been in years. I'm inspired to mop again, when the time is right.
Mopping the floor is an interesting archetype for lots of other chores that we have to do, be they mundane or complicated, housework or business. If you can get past the blockage, either on your own or with someone's help, the results can sparkle, and you wonder what took so long to get around to it.
So it is with the peanut butter. Is it OK to eat peanut butter with a spoon? Bet your ass it is - just have something handy to wash it down with.