The Computer Mind

It seems like a lot of work for one photo caption. It is. But before long, your mental computer will have a file of all the different possibilities that you can call up at a moment's notice.

Do all those steps really become automatic? Think of it like the moves Jimmy Connors has to make setting up for a tennis shot. As the ball approaches, Connors decides to move diagonally forward or backward, left or right. At the same time, he is getting his racket back, planting his feet properly while keeping both eyes on the ball to judge its speed and spin. He now makes decisions on his shot, the velocity of his swing in order to block, punch or slam the ball. With his peripheral vision he determines where his opponent is and guesses where he'll go. It is not necessary to drag this analogy out. Connors does all this and more in less than a second while the ball is traveling nearly a hundred miles per hour—and that's for every shot.

Unlike a champion tennis player, as a writer you have a lot more time to run through your gamut of double entendre clichés. The second time is not only better than the first, it's a lot easier, too. The five thousandth time will be easier still.

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