Saturday, January 23, 2016

The ‘Learning Something New’ Aphorism

“Frazz,” by Jeff Mallett, is one of my favorite newspaper comic strips to read during breakfast with my morning coffee.

I especially enjoy the insights of 8-year-old Caufield, a precocious and creative thinker.
Recently, Caufield was talking to the strip’s principal character, school custodian Edwin “Frazz” Frazier, who remarked that Caufield wasn’t usually averse to learning something new. (Caufield had just had another run-in with his teacher, the bespeckled Mrs. Olsen.)

Caulfield noted something about a phrase that always gets on my nerves: “You learn something new every day.” I have issues with those words.

First of all, nobody learns something new every day. If we did, you’d be able to tell me what you learned the day before yesterday, the day before that, the day before that, and so on ad infinitum.
You can’t. So you didn’t learn something every day. You may have heard something new every day, but you certainly didn’t learn it.

Secondly, Caufield is right. Everything you learn is new. Isn’t it? You’ve never learned anything that was “old” to you. “Learn something new” is redundant.

Right? Right! I hope you learn this from this and remember it.

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