I saw the car key on the black asphalt of the walking trail in the park where I exercise most mornings. Stooping, I picked it up, knowing ahead before I actually touched the lone large key that it would be a recent loss for someone. No rust; no caked mud--none of the other elements of the weather attached to it. Besides, it was my second lap around the park, and I would have seen it the first time around. I pay attention to my surroundings.
A novice about cars I let my forefinger graze over the car maker's insignia on the rubbery tip of the key, wondering which make and model of car it represented. It looked familiar--thought it was a Chevrolet, but a Honda owner, I wasn't sure. I thought about circling the cars parked in the lot looking for a match, but chose a different option instead. I walked over to a man who was getting into his car and about to crank it up--he had his key!--waved to him and asked, "Do you know what kind of car this key would fit?"
"Chevrolet," he said, eyeing me as if surely I couldn't be that ignorant. Could be, too. Was. I am not embarrassed by my ignorance, however. I'm too old to assign value to myself in terms of what I know or don't know. I am old enough to ask questions, and find answers: this is what this blog entry is about, and it's an exercise in logic and it's for my business and professional writing students, so if you are a different reader, just ignore us or jump in.
You have just seen me use two essential characteristics of logic: an admission of ignorance; a request for help. (I didn't know if he could help me. I was prepared to ask the next person who came along. I am not shy about asking for help. This park is pretty public, and I sort of knew the man I asked--we pass each other often in the park-- and I am aware of the faces and schedules of other people. The danger felt minimal.)
Now, how did I find owner of the Chevrolet without handing the key over to a stranger who would not be loathe to steal someone's car, because that could have happened?
I did find the owner and without making a whole lap around the walking path. How did I know that I would find the owner? I walked counterclockwise holding the key in the air. She recognized it and said, looking angry, "You found that key? My son is supposed to have that key. That's him over there--he's probably looking for it right now."
Job done, I waved good bye.
Still walking counterclockwise, I encountered the son next. He was walking with headphones and didn't hear me when I spoke. I greeted him two more times. He scowled. Took off his head phones.
"Whaddya want?" he asked irritably.
I didn't say, "Your mama's going to let you have it shortly." Instead, I inquired brightly, "Looking for a key?"
He shook his head abruptly, no and put his head phones back on.
"I just returned a lost car key to that woman over there. She said it was yours and that you lost it."
He jammed a fist inside his pant pocket--came up empty. He looked at me as if I were a pickpocket.
"You must have a hole in your pocket," I explained, as I saw that he irrationally wanted to blame anyone nearby for the loss of the key, including me.
"Your mother's waiting for you," I said, and started back on my walk.
By the time I made the next lap they were having a pretty loud conversation.
I avoided hearing it. Then, I saw the mama hand the key back to her son and walk off.
He looked at the key, looked at the car, didn't see me--and then ran after his mother and gave her the key back.
She pocketed the key, barely slowing down, and he returned in a relieved lope to the car and waited for his mother to finish her walk.
Now, the logic assignment for today: Which one of these people is the more logical? The mother or the son?
Explain your reasoning in a comment on this blog. Summarize as much of the story as you need to in order to make your point. You might even want to imagine that the mother is the equivalent of a manager and the son, an employee who needs direction and mentoring.
Then, for vocabulary's sake, choose one of the following words as the right word that associates itself logically with this event: delegate, logical, illogical, inconsequential, unavoidable mistake, avoidable mistake, trust, mistake, understandable mistake, or busybody. If none of these words associates itself in your mind as a logical connection, add your own word at the end of your comment. Just write: Word of the day: your word.
So, today I am looking for a summary that asserts a thesis that the mother or the son was the more logical, followed by your explanation for your rationale, and culminating in the word for the day that attaches to this event.