BlackBird's Bullets #29

YouTubers as essential workers; Hermits; net-zero cities; 99 rules to live by; and Bill Burr.

BlackBird's Bullets #29

YouTubers; Hermits; net-zero cities; 99 rules to live by; and Bill Burr.

Title photo: YouTubers are the real essential workers. Why? —Let me tell you a story of teachers, kids, basketball, (and male stubbornness).


I always get that weird vibe when facing the healthcare system — sitting in a hospital gets me all sympathetic for those who are really sick, as well as for the healthcare workers. We refer to them as essential, and that's the paycheck we're paying them — basic. Barely making a living, especially for anyone below the doctor. If not before, you start pondering that when you or someone close needs their assistance.

What's the price tag on our children?

It's the same with teachers — they're among the worst-paid white-collar jobs (at least in Slovenia), yet we trust them our children, our future. While there's no price tag to our children, what we're paying teachers is a disgrace. I can't believe the quality of (elementary) public school education and how pleasant teachers those minimal taxpayer euros buy.

Last year, my daughter finished her primary education and I got to do the only thing I really could for her teachers: delivering a short speech, sincerely thanking and applauding them. They keep delivering on the promise of education for my son. Same school, same teachers, same awesome service.

Of course, there are parents at the PTA trying to obscure the only measure of good teachers: happy children who love returning to school. Children who missed teachers and friends during the pandemic-induced home-schooling. Because in primary school it's not so much about the grades, it's about falling in love with learning. And I hope it's a love affair for life because there's nothing better a human can achieve in a lifetime but being a constant learner.

there's nothing better a human can achieve in a lifetime but being a constant learner.


So what got me talking about schools and hospitals? Basketball.
Let me be more specific: playing basketball with my son a couple of weeks ago.
Even more specific: dislocating my pinky finger as a result of a direct ball hit. When it happened, I shouted some french words and was shocked to see my pinkie sticking out. In the adrenaline rush, I grabbed it, pulled it out, and it fell back in place. Put some ice on it and soldier on.

Of course, a grown man doesn't go to the emergency because of a pinky finger.

Wrong. Six weeks later, it still hurts and it's only half mobile. Now this grown man had to go to the GP, then to the ER, spending a half-day among seriously hurt and suffering individuals. I burned the time of at least four doctors (GP, a young specialist, who then consulted two senior specialists!) and who knows how many nurses, X-ray folks, and supporting staff. I hope nobody died because of me taking their time.

Or them taking mine — the result of half a day ER adventure was duct-taped finger (specialist #1), then de-duct-taped (specialist #2 & #3), and a patient sent home with instructions to "stretch it regularly and come back if that doesn't help".

Lesson learned: save some taxpayer's money and the mental pain of a day at the ER and treat yourself with some YouTube videos. Free or $11.99/month to forego the ads.

And that's why YouTubers are essential workers.

Thanks for suffering through my rant.

Enjoy this week's five points:  

  • 🌲 Next book impression: The Stranger in the Woods. I read this one when we were still naive about the next 14 days, and when I thought I'd be back on the road by autumn latest. Well, maybe this autumn, or so I hope.
  • 🧵 When you need a reminder that every day counts: The tail end. Looking at time in relatable increments of important relationships is a great hack to put things into perspective. Bottom line: live closer to the people you love, prioritize face time, and treat time spent with people for what it actually is: precious.
  • 🚲 Whenever a fresh e-car owner tries grilling me about my toy gas guzzler, I play the carnivore card: me not eating meat trumps their e-car carbon savings by a long stretch.  But traffic congestion isn't about the type of cars — it's in less cars.  Ultimately, cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities.
  • 📏 This guy's book impression is coming up soon. How many of these incredibly popular 99 rules to live by do you respect?
  • 🛫 I never miss a chance for a good laugh. Bill is one of my favorite stand-up comedians (next to Louis CK, Seinfeld, and the bunch). Here are Bill Burr's issues with the airline boarding process.

See you next week — with 30th edition of this newsletter!
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.
Peter K.

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