Trial Balloon

Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:00 AM on January 5, 2010 by Dale Connelly (39 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

As you know, there is more than one Dr. H., and he/she sees all the angles.
Good thing. This week's question is rather abstract.

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Dear Dr. Heartlander -

Everyone says "Happy New Year", as if we are guaranteed to get a full 365 days out of 2010. But I say Hogwash! Here we are less than one week into it, and I feel bamboozled!

Yesterday, I had 3 errands that should have taken an hour and a half. I left the house at noon, but I didn't get back until 5:30!

What happened to the extra 4 hours? I'm SURE they did not pass through my life, so they must have gone through someone else's.

I suspect that people are intercepting minutes that were supposed to come to me, and they are wasting this time on their own idle pursuits! Probably the culprits are Captains of Industry and Wall Street Bankers who are siphoning off my seconds to fritter away on their stupid meetings, their extravagant family vacations to Vienna, and their endless commutes from Manhattan to Connecticut.

This is worse than identity theft, because once time is spent so casually, it is almost impossible to trace! Nobody seems to know where the purloined moments go.

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And please don't suggest that I keep an eye on the clock. I have tried that, believe me, but watches seem to have a way of slipping off my wrist, vanishing completely. And here is a picture of a public timepiece not far from my home. As you can see, it is a blurry, drippy, useless mess. Clearly, someone wants to keep me from knowing what time it is! I suspect a conspiracy that goes to the highest levels of government!

How can I keep greedy people from stealing my time?

Signed, Salvadorina Dali

Salvadorina, your story seems surreal to me, but who am I to say that your perception is any more or less real than my own? So let's assume that there IS a conspiracy afoot to pirate minutes from your day. What of it? When it comes to time, we are not guaranteed equal shares - far from it. The Wall Street Bankers you accuse of stealing from you may wind up with far fewer hours when all is accounted for, even though they have done you wrong. And by worrying over their theft of your time, you unwittingly hand them MORE. So control what you can. Make good use of the time you get by devoting it to things that make you happy ... AND I hope that includes these counseling sessions of ours.

But that's just my opinion.

What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?


Comments (39)

dear SD - i'm afraid i'll have to disagree with Dale. seems like happy moments go much more quickly. my advice would be to seek unhappiness, pain, or even better, dial-up internet. the minutes will creep by so very slowly.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 6:16 AM


Good Morning All,

Dear Salvadorina,

I think Barb is right. When you are having fun, time goes by quickly or at least not as slowly as when things aren't going so good. May be your are having too much fun. If you don't think your having too much fun, then I think you might really have a problem.

Make a list of things to do that aren't fun and do them. If time starts going by too slowly, add some fun things to the list.

Posted by Jim | January 5, 2010 6:31 AM


Morning Heartlanders! I'm with Barb here... something is definitely going on. Maybe if we investigate where all our minutes are going, we'll also find where "they" have stashed all those socks that disappear from the dryer!

Posted by sherrilee | January 5, 2010 6:35 AM


SD: Read "Catch-22."
If you like the book, it will teach you how to love to do the things you hate to do and hate the things you love to do and thus manage time. If you hate the book, well, then look a the time you will get back. Might help to change your name to Yossarian Dali or Major Major Major Dali.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | January 5, 2010 6:39 AM


Dale, how about "Hello Dali?" the Satchmo version, please?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 6:45 AM


Once again, the TB blog has beautifully articulated a phenomenon I had only a vague sense of unease about.

I have to add that even things you don't want to do and yea verily procrastinate about will make time go zipping right through your fingers with the application of the impossible deadline.

At that point, I try not to cast a suspicious eye on those people having a leisurely cup of coffee or looking through the Leisure Section of the paper.

On my more insightful days, I do try out the idea that if I GIVE of my time, a lot less seems to get stolen. Now if I could just be more insightful on a regular basis......

Posted by catherine | January 5, 2010 6:48 AM


Oh Barb! I don't know which is worse, that request or how long it took me to figure out what you were asking for!

Must get coffee.......

Dale, if you don't already have it on your list, could you play "time means nothing to me" for the 11 year olds and others with no sense of urgency?

Posted by catherine | January 5, 2010 7:04 AM


Oy, Barb, Hello Dali!

Another possibility, Salvadorina, is that you've stepped into an ordinary time warp a la Star Trek days. I think I remember both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard having to deal with those. I suppose we could even be dealing with a black hole of hours and minutes here...

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 7:36 AM


that explains it. i have been wondering for years what happened to my time. i notice it with other people more than myself. a couple of years ago my mom started going to the store for milk and she would return 8 hours later with no milk and not have any real recall of what had happened to her time. it began infrequently and htne as the time bandits realized what an easy mark she was they started doing it more often. it has become such a regular phenomenon now that we all just plug it into the equation and realize that two or three extra hours always have to be plugged in when grandma is involved.
it must be like entering a time warp because i know it happens to me but i don't feel it when it is happening. the day is just over and there is no explanation for it. thanks to ms dali for the insight. i now realize the only logical explanation is the time bandits out there.
clyde. love the catch 22 tie in. well done.

Posted by tim | January 5, 2010 7:40 AM


SD, it's all smoke and mirrors. I found this quote that isn't particularly helpful. "For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work." ~Doug Larson

Have a good Tuesday, Ms. Dali and Heartlanders!

Posted by Darcy | January 5, 2010 7:41 AM


I will admit that I have stolen moments here and there from others...but only for the enjoyment of those around me (often including the person I purloined the time from - a few moments split several ways expand, it turns out).

Mostly, though, I would agree that the best way to get your minutes and moments back is to do something less fun. Why just yesterday I think I gained back a full hour I had lost earlier waiting for information I needed for work (and couldn't go further until I had it).

Posted by Anna | January 5, 2010 7:41 AM


As a 65-year-old, youngest of my siblings, married to an older woman, living in an association, I DO know where my missing time goes. It goes to all the retired people who surround me, who slowed down to a crawl about two days after retirement. They all must have IRTA that I never heard about.

And I sure hope TGITH chimes in today: this is his expertise, time and surrealism together is a high hanging curve to him, as he would say.

Posted by Clyde Late in Mankato | January 5, 2010 7:47 AM


I just happened to read my email from an online doctor, which claims that you can CREATE more time by shopping online rather than in stores. Now there's an interesting concept. I suppose if I never left the house, I wouldn't get tempted to stop at so many places...

Speaking of surreal, Dale... that photo of Dr. Heartlander is vaguely disturbing. Just imagine if someone actually spent their TIME fixing a couple of photos up to look like that! :)

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 8:00 AM


Dali . . .Dale????
Has anyone seen Dale lately? Has he grown a mustache with long curls on the end?

Posted by Clyde Late in Mankato | January 5, 2010 8:04 AM


Clyde - IRTA?

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 8:06 AM


Morning all,

Off topic, but wanted to wish Iris DeMent a happy 49th birthday today, if you'd be able to play something in her honor Dale, that'd be nice.

Posted by Mike in Albert Lea | January 5, 2010 8:11 AM


Clyde - i'm one of those retired folks. i drive around in front of you, going 2 miles an hour with my left blinker on.
and yes, Barbara, i agree about that photo!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 8:12 AM


time is on my side ..the stones

Posted by tim | January 5, 2010 8:25 AM


Barbara: Individualized Retirement Time Account
Barb: Not here: Mankato is a turn-signal-free community.
Darcy: nice quote.
Tim: you and I have really been in sync lately.

Posted by Clyde Late in Mankato | January 5, 2010 8:29 AM


the movie harvey had a time and space issue the reverse of this we should investigate. there the situation that harvey the pooka had not only overcome time and space but also any objection to to it. you could go anywhere you wanted for as long as you wanted with whoever you want to go there with and when you returned the clock would not have moved a second. jimmy stewart never bothered to use this perk of being a pookas buddy because he was always very happy to be here with the company he was sharing at the time. i strive for this outlook in my life too. happiness is a perception to be sure.

Posted by tim | January 5, 2010 8:37 AM


thanks for the tune, Dale!

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 8:38 AM


Notice, people, that the Stones were in their twenties when they wrote Time Is On My Side.

I think when we die we will discover that time was actually an illusion, as the saying goes.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 8:55 AM


Ok, first of all, the photo of Dr. H. is not just vaguely disturbing. It's EXTREMELY disturbing. Which I'm not saying is a bad thing. When giving advice, it's good to step outside of your comfort zone a little. And that photo is guaranteed to put anyone and everyone outside of any zone of comfort.

Second, the rhythmic rotation of clothes dryers creates small black holes that are just large enough for single socks to be sucked through. They wind up on the other side of the universe.

Third, at some point, I was planning on doing a story about a mad scientist that steals people's time from their lives, so stop stealing my ideas.

Fourth, All Things Considered did a story on our perceptions of time as a consequence of whether or not we are enjoying a given task during that perceived time. Check it out:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121753441

Fifth, yes, people do try to steal your time. And your soul. And your knowlege. And anything else they can. When I say 'people,' I mean those that have something to gain from doing so. In professional settings, some people will take whatever they can from whoever they can in attempts to further their own ends. In social settings, some people will work on taking as much time as they can in the form of attention. Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, called these people 'unscrupulous and evil' in one of his books. I wish I could say that we all can maximize our time by simply ignoring others...mowing them down whenever they get in our way or being horribly rude. But, once again, reality and societal constraints intrude upon our attempts to get even simple tasks done. So, what can be done? Well, there are actually options. You can make others do your bidding while you maximize your time with your preferred pursuits. If you're forced to interact with others, a certain amount of give and take may be necessary. However, I think you should have no reservation about engaging a more extreme measure. One such may be to start speaking in sentences with completely random words. This has numerous advantages in that the 'time leech' is suddenly at a loss to receive information or attention that they're after. They will persist for a short while in trying to get what they want from you but will eventually get frustrated and go away...which is the true goal. They may also inquire as to your mental state of fitness. This, again, works for you. Because if they think you're going slightly bonkers, they'll want to get away from you as soon as possible. Again, you win. Breaking out into other languages ~may~ work, but there's always the possibility that they speak that language, which gives -them- something else to talk about with you...bad! So, if you find that you've attracted a 'time leech,' throw him/her off their game by speaking in gibberish. It's even Minnesota approved (passive/aggressive).

Posted by That Guy in the Hat | January 5, 2010 9:01 AM


TGITH: right in your wheelhouse and right out of the park. Everything I hoped for!!!
Tim and TGITH: Harvey's good!! How about Melville's "Bartleby the Scribner." When anyone asks him to do anything, he says, I would prefer not to." Even to his boss. A story written in 1850's that could have been in the 1950's.

Posted by Clyde Catching Up in Mankato | January 5, 2010 9:11 AM


Ahh...another entetaining read but what can I say besides.....
I went to snizzle last night and what the gobblty gook happens?... everything GOT to be funky!

and I'm late as usual...Have a great day to all that check in after 9.

Posted by Kate from Eden Prairie | January 5, 2010 9:28 AM


Perhaps we can devise a technology that captures lost time like they say we can capture carbon emissions-maybe even trade time with others and get tax credits and investment incentives.

Posted by Renee | January 5, 2010 9:52 AM


So, Renee, are you in the market for some time futures?

Posted by Doug | January 5, 2010 10:02 AM


Greetings! It's so obvious, but no one wants to acknowledge the 800 lb gorilla in the blog -- only ALIEN ABDUCTIONS can adequately explain this phenomenon. 'Nuff said ...

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | January 5, 2010 10:12 AM


Joanne - This would explain SO much...

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 10:51 AM


Alien Abductions would also explain those moments of staring into space blankly, driving along and not remembering the last 5 minutes, and sudden behavior changes in people. They abduct the real person and put an alien clone in their place for nefarious purposes. This goes along with the identity blog of a week or so ago.

Posted by Alien Joanne in Big Lake | January 5, 2010 10:59 AM


Who the heck was just on my computer?!

Posted by Real Joanne in Big Lake | January 5, 2010 11:01 AM


On the basis of press reports of abductions, especially where they have happened and who they abducted, my first guess for an abductee would be a goat herder from Blackhoof. Clearly she is far to intelligent compared to those who have reported their abuductions, but we will overlook that.

Posted by Clyde in "Mankato" | January 5, 2010 11:03 AM


I would be, but I'm afraid they will be seized by aliens and I'll lose money over the deal.

Posted by Renee | January 5, 2010 11:04 AM


I was doing some online research and learned that the FBI is trying to trace the existence of a group which seems to call itself the Covert Abduction Laboratory from Outer Space.

Posted by Clyde in Kato | January 5, 2010 11:55 AM


One of their agents tried to block my report. The correct name is:
Covert Abduction Research Laboratory from Outer Space

Posted by Clyde in Kato | January 5, 2010 12:01 PM


again, i leave for a few hours and you folks go berzerk. where was i and what was i doing? it's a probing question that i won't answer. .

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 3:01 PM


And Donna hasn't even posted today, Barb...

TGITH - I knew we could count on you. (Interesting article you found, too.)

I wonder what's the greatest number of posts in one day. We may break a record here.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | January 5, 2010 3:18 PM


maybe Donna was abducted?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | January 5, 2010 4:27 PM


OH MAN!! You folks are far freakn out there today! Not to mention Dale's new image of Dr. H.

Posted by Donna | January 5, 2010 10:05 PM


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