Robert Heinlein

I was thinking about Robert Heinlein earlier today.
Here’s a great quote that put my life in perspective when I heard it:

A human being should be able to:

  1. change a diaper,
  2. plan an invasion,
  3. butcher a hog,
  4. conn a ship,
  5. design a building,
  6. write a sonnet,
  7. balance accounts,
  8. build a wall,
  9. set a bone,
  10. comfort the dying,
  11. take orders,
  12. give orders,
  13. cooperate,
  14. act alone,
  15. solve equations,
  16. analyze a new problem,
  17. pitch manure,
  18. program a computer,
  19. cook a tasty meal,
  20. fight efficiently,
  21. die gallantly.

“Specialization is for insects.” - Robert A. Heinlein

If I were to grade myself by that standard, my score is 17/21
(Plus one point if I can substitute a chicken, fish or rabbit for the hog.)

Note that no living human can earn a perfect score!

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I’ve read about everything that Heinlein wrote…and some that he didn’t (Spider Robinson finished an unwritten novel from notes/outlines that Heinlein left behind).

I think I could do most everything on the list, but have never actually done #2, 4*, 5**, 6, 20*** or 21.

    • I’ve steered and set sails on a 30 ft sailboat, not sure if that counts as a “ship”.
      ** - seems simple enough, being a CAD jockey and all…but never tried to fully navigate the IBC or other standards.
      *** - unless paintball or other sports counts, and debate would ensue over the term “efficiently”.

I didn’t give myself a point for #20 despite all my years in Karate (I have 2 left feet) and once capturing the flag in paintball. I take “efficiently” to mean that you can “live to fight another day”. In all of the above experiences I took too many blows.