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Heinlein's Humans

Robert Heinlein famously said:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

In the spirit of the myriad “25 random facts” and such, I’m going to suggest that we see how close some of us are to Heinlein’s ideal. Here’s the quote again, with things I’ve actually done in bold, things I think I could do in italics, and things I can’t do in regular type:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

I must admit, I’ve never actually butchered a hog, but I’ve seen it done, and I’ve butchered both deer and squirrel, and I’ve dissected everything from a small pig to rats and mice. So I think I could handle that.  I’m helping to design a library right now, so I think that counts. And yes, I’ve shoveled manure in my time…cleaning out barn stalls.

So I still need to figure out how to conn a ship, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. I’m pretty sure I could plan an invasion, but don’t really want to find out. I’ve never built a wall, but I understand basic physics, so I think I’m good there. I’ve taken umpteen first aid classes, and had extensive physiology/anatomy classes, so setting a bone could be done, I’m pretty sure. Fighting and dying are both not really something I want to try out. But that’s not too bad a reckoning, right?