Mistake Maven

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  • Not Knowing When to Turn the Faucet Off

    (And this sermon is meant for a certain Maven with the initials SALLY BISHAI...)

    Have you ever fired off an AWESOME game that play-tested brilliantly and looked fab... but then held off on releasing it because you kept coming out with "just one more card!" or theme or whatever?

    I surely have!

    My original Communication Barrier Skits, erm, originally had about 38ish hand-written cards. (This is back in 2004, btw.)

    Over the semesters, I kept getting more ideas, and ended up with over 250 cards. (Each card had one barrier on it, and each group of unsuspecting Speech students would get 2-4 cards, which they got to throw into a skit and act for the rest of the class... on Day 1 of The Scariest Class, ever. (For kids in the US, anyway. Cultures across the globe have the children stand up to speak or answer questions from the very start, so it's frequently not even an issue, elsewhere. But I teach in the US, so let's try to fix the snowballing scaredness of speaking syndrome if we can, eh?)

    Ten years later, I still refused to release the game, as I was afraid to leave out the most important barriers...though I knew (in my head, anyway) that no one in his or her right mind would spend $100 on  a set of cards that any person on EARTH could come up with. (Small-scale publishing used to be waaaay more cost-prohibitive than it is right now--not that it's "inexpensive" just yet.)

    The point is that, well--would anyone miss the ones that *I* would've? 

    Of course not. Why?

    Well, not only did they not KNOW what I'd originally intended, but they likely didn't CARE what the original or complete set included.

    That's what I tell my students, btw, when they freak out about forgetting part of their outline.

    "But DR. B., I literally forgot an ENTIRE MAIN POINT! I'm going to FAAAAIL my SPEEECH!"

    (I'm not being theatrical, either, I've literally had students weep over this fact.)

    What I'd gently tell them is what I'm forcefully telling myself again--"My dear and beloved friend, no one else even saw your outline, and I was more interested in your delivery this time around--it was the bomb biggidy, btw, so go you!--so, like, who cares? You did a fine job and you got a magic checkmark, so next time you can tell us more about the life cycle of the vampire bat!"

    So there we are.

    (If you're anything like me, then that whole spiel didn't convince you to turn the faucet off, as my dear friend Dr. Davis Houck once phrased it (ok, he told me that, like, 18 times when I was obsessed with fitting every last factoid on EARTH into my poor, beleaguered dissertation).

    So, borrowing the sage counsel of my other dear friends, Dr. Felecia Jordan-Jackson and Dr. Steve McDowell also told me at least 47 times (per week), "your dissertation is just one paper. You can put the other stuff into your follow-up study."

    aka "The more quality ideas that keep falling out of the faucet, the more SEQUEL GAMES you get to make."


    Yay for faucets!