04 May 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project



I promulgate this entry with trepidation.  Not only does it disclose a deeply personal datum, it reveals the extent of my ignorance about what many would consider the ordinary appurtenances of life as we know it.  Nonetheless, as I described a revelation to a friend, I was instructed that I must include it in my blog.  Hence this.

I rarely go defective.  Beyond the occasional "cold" I have had the great good fortune to avoid serious illness, limb detachment, dain bramage, and the other debilitations visited upon us by The System, which I dislike very much and which I shall undoubtedly belabor at length if it doesn't get me first.  However, I did recently suffer an odd defect, which progressed from a sore throat to a brain filled with gloop that prevented me from being able to taste or smell anything.  Although this is not unusual, either in scope or intensity, it was most bizarre in that instead of the usual few hours or day, this terminal stage encompassed two full weeks!  (During the entire period, oddly, I didn't feel at all ill.  People kept asking if I felt better, and I had to aver that I did not, since I felt fine to begin with and still did.  I garnered less sympathy than I might otherwise have done as a result.)

By the end of the second week I was growing concerned, since I hadn't enjoyed any chocolate for the full period.  (Which did not stop me from eating any; habit is strong.)  I petitioned for advice an associate with a medical background, who recommended "tea with lemon."  I mentioned this when I got home, mostly by whining "may I please have some tea with lemon."  I was advised that "I told you to have tea with lemon.  Why didn't you listen to me?"  I'm sure I said something convincing since the tea with lemon arrived in a cup instead of a lap*. 

My housemate is not unduly patient.  She tolerates me and my foibles with the exasperation of a true grown-up, and suffers me in both senses of the term.  Neither of us felt it would be a good idea for me to come home and whine for tea during the full course of this episode of defectivity.  Accordingly, I was instructed in the mysteries of making tea with lemon.  I delineate the process now**.

  1. Fill the tea maker with as much water as is needed to fill an authorized tea container ("cup" or "mug").
  2. Place the tea maker on the energizer, and press the button in the handle.  A light will come on.
  3. When the light goes off, pour the water into the cup or mug.
  4. Place a "tea bag" in the cup.  Add a lot of sugar.  (This step also can be accomplished while the tea maker is adding energy to the water, since this time-consuming portion of the activity requires no personal supervision.)
  5. Find a lemon fruit in the lower-left portion of the refrigerator, and, using a knife, hold it vertically and slice it into four wedge-shaped sections, which are easier to squeeze than are axisymmetric slices.  Retain one section and return the others to the refrigerator.  (Repetitions of this activity can employ the conserved sections rather than engage a new lemon fruit.)
  6. Holding the lemon section over the cup with the nascent tea, manually squeeze it so that the lemon juice is deposited into the cup.
  7. Remove the "tea bag" from the cup.  Using a spoon, stir the liquid in the cup until the contents are homogeneous and the sugar is fully in solution.

Now why was I doing this?  Right... Defective, want to get better.  Drink the tea!   (From the cup do not use the spoon.  For reasons unknown I sustained threats when I tried the latter.)

Unfortunately, cause and effect are difficult to pinpoint when there is no control subject.  I was not in a position to supply two defective Richards, one who consumed tea with lemon and one who didn't.  Accordingly, I cannot ascribe the "cure" of my condition to the consumption of this potion.  But I did learn to make "tea with lemon" and discovered the marvels of the "tea maker" and its attendant energizer which had been inhabiting the kitchen without my knowledge.

*Conundrum:  If hot tea is poured into the lap, the first thing one does it to spring up, thus eliminating the recipient area.  Yet the tea (and burning sensation) remain. 

**There are certainly some people who don't know about this, and will find it instructive.  Others can use the description as an exemplar for documenting similar activities.  I feel it achieves a balance between comprehensibility and excessive specificity.  For example, almost everyone can locate "knives" and "spoons" in the kitchen area without an elaborate description of the process.

Richard Factor