I wore sunglasses a lot in high school. For example, I spent one summer at a camp where more people knew me as “Sunglasses” than as “Daniel.” I wore my sunglasses far more often and later in the day than it made any sense to, because heck with it, I’d spent a lot of money on those things and I was getting my money’s worth.
There were only two places I didn’t wear them. One was in school, because Mr. Fletcher would confiscate any and everything, and he wasn’t about to get those. (I did wear them on my head in school, because I’m determined.) The other was when I was hitting in baseball. I was only a marginal hitter as it was, and wearing sunglasses made it hard to pick up the rotation on the ball. I didn’t need to make it any harder.
Then I had a thought. I had (have) really good vision. Like, 20/20 looks at me with jealousy. In high school, I was 20/5 in my right eye, 20/7 in my left. It’s not that good anymore, but it’s still my best quality by several miles (and I can see all those miles). Well, what if I doubled down on the sunglasses? What if I wore them at all times, like 24 hours a day, seven days a week? As it was, I struggled with the curveball sometimes. If I wore the sunglasses 100 percent of the time, got my eyes completely used to slightly-impaired-because-of-sunglasses vision, then when I took them off, I’d have the vision of a superhero. Surely then I would know the curve was coming that much earlier and be that much better of a hitter.
I never did it, of course. It’s silly. But it’s the kind of thing I think about. Here’s another one:
(Caveat, because if I don’t include this someone will take me seriously: I’ve never done these things, I will never do these things, I don’t want to do these things. They’re just interesting thoughts.)
Being drunk decreases your coordination. We all know that. So imagine you take a small child and keep them drunk all the time. Children struggle with coordination as they grow and learn as it is. Imagine a kid who learns coordination through a steady haze of drunkenness and gets drunk-coordinated. Sober that kid up at, say, age 16 and let his base level of coordination adjust to sobriety? That kid is a dang superhero.
Yes, yes, I know, addiction, cirrhosis, brain cells. It’s obviously not a good idea. That’s why it’s obviously not a real idea. It’s just the kind of thing I think about. Now that my wife is pregnant, I think about that sort of thing that much more.
My wife’s having twins, and that gives me a control group. Again, I’m never going to do any of these things, but with twins I could, in theory, really experiment. Left-handed relievers make a goldmine, what if I let one kid use whichever arm they want and take steps to make the other a lefty? Can I engineer a major-leaguer?
Or raise one of the kids with all the modern trappings – playing with a tablet at a young age, DVR their favorite shows, whatever. Raise the other without technology. Is our screen time really killing imagination?
Raise one kid as a vegetarian, one as a meat-eater. Take one to church, teach the other to be atheist. Speak Spanish to one and not the other. Again, (I promise) I’m not going to do any of these things, and don’t want to, but darned if they aren’t things I think about.
How about you? Tweet me your ideas at @danieltkelley. What crazy experiments would you do on children if you had a control and a variable and no conscience?
Holy crap, that last sentence is probably enough to get me on a list.