A quick note before my blog today: My one book, THE POPE’S STONE, is the subject of a review “tour” all this week. Various book reviewers will be posting a review of my book on their blogs and elsewhere. Featured is a special prize giveaway (pictured right). You are eligible to win one of four prize packages consisting of a signed copy of the book and a personal journal. All the links for the tour are at the end of the first review which you can link to as follows:
Now, “Thermostat 101″…
Today is winter. Yep, I believe winter has finally arrived here in South Florida. Not to worry, it will be over soon, maybe as soon as tomorrow. Our high temperature today is predicted to be only 71°. When I awoke this morning it was 67° in the house. I turned on the heater for only the second time this year, just to take the edge off the slightly crisp tinge to the air. The dog and the cat, however, seemed to have adjusted to the cold front and exhibited no discernible change in attitude…or position.
My wife complained that it was hot and asked if I had turned on the heat. I admitted that I had, but I set it at only 70°. Surly she could not be hot at that temperature. Surly she was. Surly I wasn’t. And here in lies one of the few sources of friction in our 45+ years of marital blister…oh, I meant to say marital bliss.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an advocate of thermostat education. Yes, I am a true believer that there should be a course, probably in high school, title Thermostat 101. Oh, I sense a slight tick amongst my readers. “Here he goes again,” they are saying. Well, hear me out on this. Thermostat 101 could change our society’s entire way of life—and for the better, I might add.
If you have ever worked in an office with many co-workers, I am willing to bet that there have been temperature issues. Am I right? Of course I am. There are some workers always complaining how hot it is in the office. Others, meanwhile, take out the spare sweater they keep bunched up in a drawer or hanging on the back of their chair and put it on their shivering torsos. It is not unusual seeing some folks wander back and forth to the copier or fax machine in t-shirts and shorts, while others show up in sweat hoodies or down parkas. Right? Go on, say it: “He’s absolutely right!”
So, what happens next. Maybe I should say “what happened next?” because things have changed. In the old days there was a constant parade back and forth to the thermostat. Jane would go over and set it up to 85. A few moments later, Bill would stop by and reset it to 70. This would go on all day in the office as the thermostat went up and down more than the lobby elevator.
But that was when the office thermostat used to remain exposed so anyone could come up to it and change the setting. Nowadays, however, it is hard to find a free range thermostat. Most all office thermostats are now secured and locked behind a plastic box, prohibiting anyone from getting near their intricate thermostatic components. Hence, whatever temperature management has decided is best for the office, is permanently set and unchangeable.
Now, you can bet that setting was determined only after considerable management debates and private balloting. Maybe even a consultant was hired and he or she arrived one day with a booklet for each employee. Inside were all these questions about the work environment. You obediently answered each question with some response between 1 and 5; 1 being the answer if you strongly disagreed with the sons-of-bitches who ran the place, and 5 meaning you felt you had died and gone to employment heaven. This, if you remember correctly, was called a climate study. You THOUGHT it was about the morale in the workplace. No, that is not true. It was a secret study that experts in human psychology use to determine the most productive temperature setting for the workplace thermostat…hence, climate study. “Ohhhhh, that’s what that was,” I hear you saying. Right? I’m right, aren’t I?
The problem with thermostats is that only the geeks who design them understand how they really function. Normal human behavior dictates that when one is too hot or too cold, one will set the thermostat accordingly. But—and this is a big but—people are not subtle about changing the thermostat setting. They don’t set it up or down just a degree or two. No, they set it up and down in big chunks. If someone is cold at 70° they will set the thermostat at 95°. Conversely, if one is hot at 78°, they will reset the thermostat to 60°. This is exactly how NOT to use a thermostat. But I have found practically no one has an understanding of this…nor does anyone care to understand it. So the radical swings in temperature continue to fluctuate in perpetuity. Let’s take this predicament a little further and together we will learn how it affects world peace. C’mon, go with me on this.
When there is conflict between two or more entities, most people would prefer diplomacy be used to try to resolve it. There are others, the war mongers among us, who would rather pull the ring and simply toss the grenade into the opponent’s foxhole.
Diplomacy is actually a thermostatic setting dictated by reason and compromise. It is processed in progressive degrees, one increment at a time, until positive results occur. On the other hand, grenades represent the radical, big chunk change one side wishes to impose upon the other. It is a faster process than diplomacy, but it usually causes temperatures (tempers) to fluctuate wildly and only enflames the conflict more.
To sum all this up, if each side in a conflict were to adjust the environment in small increments at a time, with some compromises necessary on all sides, the most acceptable resolution would eventually evolve. It’s how a thermostat best functions. If you are cold or hot, adjust the setting one or two degrees at a time until a compromise is reached and everyone can survive more or less in harmony. Do it in big chunks and all hell will break out. If only all of us knew this and understood it. Imagine how much more comfortable we’d all be, not only with the temperature in the room, but with each other!
So, for those of you who have anything to do with establishing the curriculum in our schools, you should definitely consider Thermostat 101 as a necessary element of our children’s education. If they can learn how to operate a thermostat properly, just think what a wonderful world it will be! Right? I am right…aren’t I?
Marc Kuhn is the author of three books. Recently published is an adult historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE. The other two books are for children: NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE…And a bunch of other things you should never do!; and ABOUT A FARM, lessons for life regardless of where you live.
All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title