Turn on and stay on — all the time

By · Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

not teaching,
still THINKING …

If you pay attention, you can see the difference. (Emilie Davis)

Spaghetti supper one night recently turned into a lesson relearned in how we need to be “on” all the time.

The spaghetti saga starts with two cooks in the kitchen. Cook 1 boiled the water. Cook 2 added the pasta. Easy enough. But a simple meal took a nasty turn in the amount of time that it takes to cook pasta — al dente or not.

In a household where gluten-free eating is not a choice but a necessity, two cooks who were not paying attention almost ate gluten-laden thin spaghetti rather than gluten-free spaghetti.

They weren’t “on” at the stove.

As with any type of situation where quality control is essential, these two cooks failed miserably. The only thing that saved them was luck. Once the thinner, less yellow pasta was dumped into the colander, filling it to the brim, only then did they notice all the differences. But it was close.

Close calls are common in a deadline-driven profession of gathering, producing and publishing news and information. That’s why one of our mantras has always been: You have to be “on” all the time.

We acknowledge that it is a bit embarrassing to share this personal experience. But, then again, we also recognize that we learn from one another’s mistakes.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

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