We all know about various physical and mathematical constants. The natural log e, pi, Planck time, etc. Here’s a link to a bunch more. That’s a lot of constants for a post-modern world.
Having said that, I would like to propose a new constant, which in fine scientific tradition I will name “Shack time.” Because we’re all post-modernists now, Shack time has no particular value, although it is not too long and not too short. Shack time is:
1) The time between getting in the elevator and realizing you’ve pressed the button for the floor you’re already on.
2) The time between trying to put your office key in the door and realizing you’re using your house key…. or vice versa.
3) The time you spend looking on the dash for the power button of your other car that isn’t a Prius. This is closely related to the time you spend trying to put your other car’s key into the steering column of the Prius.
4) The time between the beginning of a Faculty Senate meeting and your brain’s beginning production of deep theta waves.
5) The time between a conductor’s downbeat and the first note from the viola section (sorry…. couldn’t resist)
6) The time it takes to try both possible ways of inserting a USB cable before realizing you were right the first time.
7) The time you spend looking over your three computer screens trying to find the mouse. (Although lately I’ve been using something called Mouse Locater that really helps. This has resulted in a new Shack time interval, the time you spend admiring the neat graphic surrounding your mouse position.)
8) The time between placing a Coke Zero near the cold air vent in the freezer (because you didn’t plan ahead) and the eventual explosion of the Coke Zero can because you forgot about it.
9) The time it takes to discover that you’ve been trying open the electronic lock to your classroom door with your ATM card.
10) The time you’ve wasted reading this. (Note that there is no implication that reading *all* of this was necessarily a waste…. but surely at least one of the items was. You pick.)