Friday, July 18, 2008

2 Qs - quantity and quality..

Ahhhh, well, so anyway, back to life...

Neither a post to complete the holiday weekend passed nor a vacation summary. I thank you for not judging my lack of persistence with the previous posts.

Suffice to say both were quite enjoyable, well-paced, and the details of which are too numerous and minute to make for good reading (I'd like to think no matter the writing talent).

The chief result that seems to be most noticeable by my friends is that I have a nice tan, my hair got even more blonde, and my most recent facial hairstyle has returned albeit in the warmth of summer, not in the dead of winter.

I've had more compliments on my appearance in the past 48 hours than in the previous 4 months combined. Hate to say it, but having a tan, while detrimental to skin life (or in worst cases even life in general), makes a difference in how people see you. White and pasty is apparently no way to go through life.

It begs the questions about quality of life versus quantity. I think it fair to say that everyone would obviously love to maximize both variables, but in practice the two are frequently inversely related. Think of your basic XY graph - where the X-axis (vertical) is Quality, the Y-axis (horizontal) is Quantity, and the line charted on the graph represents at what levels the two variables meet. I imagine for the 96% of people who fall in the first two standard deviations of a typical Bell Curve, the measurements would look something like this:

An example of this would be the use of sunscreen. My instinct and knowledge insist that, given my genetics, I need to wear sunscreen if I plan on being in the sun for more than about 30 minutes with no base tan of any sort. I followed through on that during the first 3 of the 6 days of vacation. The last 3 I opted for shade or clothing as a screen, albeit only after having actively participated in pool and beach activities for over 3 hours. I wasn't quite burnt, but mildly tender to the touch. If a bad sunburn (peeling/blistering possible) could be called 'well-done', let's say I was somewhere between 'medium' and 'medium rare'.

Even at the time, I noted my own guilt for being averse to the heavily-fragranced, time-consuming, and partner-requiring lotion applications, although for my kids, I made it a priority. So much for modeling good behavior, eh? The guilt was washed away, however, by the desire to enjoy myself without the concern for personal skin health. To me, I guess a vacation must include an amount of release from worry and fears at a potential cost down the road.

That's just what I did, and I enjoyed it. Quality 1 - Quantity 0. Since Quantity is a constant unknown, but Quality is frequently measured and monitored, I'd say that for the first two standard deviations of American folk, Quality will continue to be more heavily-weighed in decision making.

On an aside, I noticed that the curve also has similarities with the profile of a roller-coaster drop. Coincedence? Life is not a highway Mr. Cochran, it's a roller-coaster.

(Edit: Okay, so privately I've just been made aware that the x-axis is the horizontal and the y-axis is the vertical, not switched as I have them above. I totally knew that too and was surprised I had made that error as most people have an understanding that my brain contains wayyyy too much trivia such as the specific labels of an XY graph. Damn failing memory parts.)

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