Sunday, April 25, 2010

Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in FarmVille

Dr. Weakly has been studying my mind diligently for over a year, and has decided that it may be interesting enough to write about. He says, if I am willing to participate, there is a good possibility that he will be nominated for the Distinguished Scientist award. The annual conference will be held in October this year, at Minneapolis City Center Marriott. I agreed to participate immediately, if only to visit an exotic location like, Minneapolis, and I hear the Marriott’s are fantastic.

This week, our study was narrowed down to researching insight as the product of internal processes. Doctor Weakly is determined to find out if some of my bright ideas are inspired by cultural artifacts, external objects or perhaps secretly implanted by aliens while I am sleeping. I told him that the alien theory is not possible since, for the last ten years, I have been sleeping with a thought screening helmet that I fashioned from a 1920’s flapper hat and lined it with Velostat. I found instructions on an Internet website that provided potential abductees the sorely needed defense against telepathic wars being waged by evil doing aliens. I agreed to bring my helmet to our next session so he could examine it.

Dr Weakly also asked me to sit in a darkened room, actually I think it was his broom closet, for an hour, which was the length of an entire session. I sat in the straight-back wooden chair and stared into a 60 watt light bulb hanging at eye level. Dr. Weakly explained that the light bulb is an external object that is imbued with learned meaning. He gave me a pad of paper and asked me to attempt to answer an unsolved mathematical question, do odd perfect numbers exist?

I stared into the light bulb for a full fifty-eight minutes before writing the sentence, since it is people who have determined that numbers are even or odd, all numbers are perfect. We must not allow other people’s opinions to color our self image. Numbers needn’t feel as if they are odd just because they have been labeled as such. They are not odd. They are just numbers.

My confident smile disappeared when Dr. Weakly’s eyebrows flew up after reading my answer. He glared at me and explained that the mathematical question he gave me involved positive integers, restricted divisor function and proper divisors. “The first few perfect numbers are, six, twenty-eight, four hundred ninety-six and eight thousand one hundred twenty-eight,” he said. “Anyone with half a brain knows that.” I willed myself to stop crying once he had finished his twenty minute lecture on comprehending the English language. At least he was kind enough to drive me home. It took a full three days for my retinas to recover from the experience. Thankfully, the blob I was seeing has gone from forest green to cyan and I have assurance from my Ophthalmologist that my color blindness will correct itself in time.

I woke up early this morning and was excited about an insight I had received during my REM cycle. It wasn’t alien in nature, and it seemed to agree with Dr. Weakly’s theory about cultural artifacts acting as a catalyst for insight. I realized that everything of value that I have learned in the last year is due to playing FarmVille!

This insight was as exciting as the realization I had when I read, The Introvert Advantage, by Marti Olsen Laney. I took her test and found I was 98% introvert. It was as if someone opened my mental jail cell and let me out. I learned that my neurotransmitters are set up differently than those of an extrovert. In the words of Temple Grandin, “I’m different…not less.” Be still my happy heart!

FarmVille has taught me that you can’t put two bulls in one dairy farm. How insightful is that? Helping your neighbor often brings gifts, the golden rule no less. Never plow and plant at the same time, it takes too long. With experience come large tanks of gas. I’m sure we can all agree on that. Just because I never heard of Patty pan Squash doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Manuel harvesting can lead to index finger cramping from clicking the mouse. I’m thinking of buying an index finger glove. If you don’t set your livestock to ‘stay’, they will run away. Too bad there isn’t a real setting for children and husbands. You can mute the farm noises if they make you crazy. Again, wouldn’t this be a nice feature to use on the neighbor’s barking dogs and annoying people? Make the most use of the size farm that you have, parcel constraints must be considered. It doesn’t matter how many houses you own, you will still be standing in the middle of your crops when you return to the game. It’s much easier to plow, plant and harvest if you use the proper equipment. Putting all your chickens in one coop will save you loads of time when collecting eggs. Stabilizing your horses is a good idea. Dairy farms bring in big ‘Moola’. Pea crops are the most lucrative. Peas on earth is the lesson here. Holidays in FarmVille last much longer than one day. Something we should all practice. Always honor a neighbor’s request. You can find just as much fertilizer on your Facebook home page as you will find in FarmVille.

And last, but not least, I have found a wonderful secret for leveling up faster. Sorry, I will keep that one to myself. I don’t want Dr. Weakly, who has ten times more FarmVille cash than I do to get ahead of me.

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