Do I Drop Things More Than Most People?

April 3, 2008 at 9:23 am 30 comments

In just an hour outing to Poverty Creek on Monday, I dropped Henry’s leash, my cell phone and my car keys.  My cell phone is barely a year old, but is covered with knicks and scratches.  And I recently successfully broke a SafeWord key when I dropped it on the floor of the local Cold Stone Creamery.  I believe I drop things more than most people.  Want to help me prove it?

I’m thinking I’ll run this experiment very much the way the MythBusters did their bean research in the episode about flatuence.  They just kept a simply tally of… how many times they passed gas.

So I’m thinking for a week, I’ll keep a running list of how many times I drop something.  But that data is meaningless unless I have a control to compare against.  I have one participant secured.  Anyone else want to join into the “fun”?

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Entry filed under: clumsiness, experiment, MythBusters. Tags: .

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30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. pneumoniaBoy  |  April 3, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Drop it like it’s hot!

    I’ve dropped all sorts of stuff, and thankfully they’ve all survived. Keys, cell phone, iPods (both of them!), etc, etc. Well, the digital camera didn’t survive. That was a couple years ago and I was in Seattle for the first time. It sucked. :(

    Reply
  • 2. Scott  |  April 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll give it a shot. When do we start?

    Reply
  • 3. Clint  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    If you find yourself dropping things, then obviously your algorithm needs changing. Comparing data doesn’t solve the problem. Stop carrying things in your hands. Use more write-straps, pockets, and bags. :)

    Reply
  • 4. Vicky  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    @Scott- You can start counting when it is convenient. I’ve already dropped a pen today. :)

    Reply
  • 5. Ryan  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I too, think that I drop things more than most people. I’m not sure if the experiment that you suggested would work. Personally, I would find myself much more conscious about how I was handling things, and thus would expect to drop less things than I normally did.

    Reply
  • 6. Vicky  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    @Scott – And now you can add a CD-R to my list for the day.

    Reply
  • 7. geekhiker  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    So, seven days, huh? When does it start? And do little things (like tiny paperclips) count? ‘Cuz I drop those all the darn time…

    Reply
  • 8. Vicky  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    @Ryan – I did consider that and I always considered that it happens so often that I may not be consciously aware when I drop something and would forget to count it.

    But so far it looks like yes, I’m still dropping things and yes, I notice. :)

    Reply
  • 9. Vicky  |  April 3, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    @ClintJCL – Without baseline data, I would never know the true effectiveness of a process change. :)

    Reply
  • 10. Clint  |  April 3, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    I think it’s more important to improve a process without being able to measure the improvement, than it is to measure a process without being able to improve it. (This statement makes me think of the Hiesenburg Uncertainty Principle for some reason.)

    Reply
    • 11. moyah  |  December 3, 2009 at 8:06 pm

      Heisenberg…just reading Hodgson’s book on physics…pfew

      Reply
  • 12. Clint  |  April 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    (Then again, measuring this process might be more *interesting* than improving it. But improving it is more likely to save you money. It’s still worth making money even if you can’t compute the ROI!! :))

    Reply
  • 13. Matt  |  April 3, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I’ll play too, if that’s okay, but I may skew your data, I’m so prone to doing stuff like this. As I usually describe it, I make Inspector Clouseau look like James Bond, because I’m such a helpless klutz. I’d be neat for me to track this, if just for my own reference… ;)

    Reply
  • 14. spugbrap  |  April 3, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Hmm, so is this just totally butterfingers type stuff, like really blatant, accidental, and inconvenient drops? I’d like to join your “study”, but there are a few scenarios I’d like to get cleared up before I start.

    1. What if you’ve got a handful of change and you’re setting it down on a table, one coin at a time, to group them for counting, and one penny falls an inch from your hand to the table, but you needed to put another coin on the table to count anyway, so you just scoot that penny over to a pile where it belongs, and go about your counting? Does that count? :)

    2. What about if you’re carrying a full load of clothes down two sets of stairs to the laundry room, and a couple socks fall out along the way? That’s to be expected, right? Does that count? When I carry clothes that way, I expect to drop a few things. That’s why it’s nice to have a child following you, to “help” you do laundry, because they can pick up the stuff you drop along the way!

    3. What if you’re eating dinner, and you drop a potato chip on the floor? I mean, if you pick it up within 5 seconds, it doesn’t count as dropping it, right? Or does the 5 second rule only apply to edibleness, so–like it or not–you still dropped it?

    4. If someone knocks an object out of your hands, does it count as dropping it? Does it make a difference if they did it accidentally or intentionally?

    5. What if you drop something light, like a dollar bill, and you catch it before it hits the ground?

    6. If the wind blows something out of your hands, does that count as dropping it?

    7. If you’re holding a helium-filled balloon, and you lose your grip on the ribbon, causing it to float away, does that count as dropping it? Drop implies that something falls down, doesn’t it? But I guess, technically, it will eventually drop, since “what goes up must come down”.

    8. If you’re holding a baby in an infant carrier (baby carseat with handle), and the driveway is icy, and you slip, but instinctively hold the infant carrier up high as you fall, absorbing the full impact of the fall in your hip, wrist, and shoulder, but the infant carrier never hits the ground, does this count as a drop? You kind of dropped yourself… and when I say “you”, I’m obviously talking about myself, and when I speak in the future tense, I’m [less obviously] talking about something that happened 8.5 years ago.

    Uh. Yeah, so get to work on those. I’ll start tracking my drops in the morning. Also, are we just keeping a count, or an actual itemized list? A list would certainly be more fun to share than a number.

    Reply
  • 15. Vicky  |  April 3, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    @SpugBrap – Good Lord. It will take me a while to process those. :)

    My list is currently itemized because I thought it would make for a better graph at the end.

    I now can now add the TV Remote to my list.

    Reply
  • 16. geekhiker  |  April 3, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Heh. Why am I not surprised that the final goal of all this is a graph? ;)

    Reply
  • 17. Vicky  |  April 4, 2008 at 7:21 am

    This morning, it took me approximately 6 minutes from when I woke up… until I dropped something. (A computer mouse)

    Reply
  • 18. Scott  |  April 6, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    @Vicky – Hmm.. Which is worse, the fact that you dropped yor mouse, or that you were playing with a computer 6 minutes after you woke up. :)

    Reply
  • 19. spugbrap  |  April 9, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Hmm, I don’t know about the rest of the “volunteers,” but I totally dropped the ball on this one–I forgot to pay attention to my dropping stuff. I recorded no data.

    Or, maybe I just didn’t drop anything for 5 days? :)

    waiit.. no.. I’m suddenly remembering several instances of dropping things. Dropped my phone, which caused the battery cover and battery to pop out, and which gave it several more dents and scratches (but miraculously still didn’t damage the camera or touch screen. wow!)

    oh, and I think I drop the soap in the shower a lot. good thing I’m not in prison!

    Reply
  • 20. tgaw  |  April 9, 2008 at 8:59 am

    @spugbrag – Since your “dropped the ball”, does that count? :)

    So far my worst day by far was Saturday. My cell phone got dropped six times. I blame tight jeans and Shiraz.

    Reply
  • 21. Drop Results « TGAW  |  April 10, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    […] 10, 2008 Last week, I questioned whether or not I drop things than most people.  So ala MythBusters, I kept a tally.  My results for the last week are […]

    Reply
  • 22. spugbrap  |  April 11, 2008 at 9:41 am

    @tgaw – Yeah, the pun was intended :)

    I dropped my phone two more times since that last comment. I think I usually only drop it once every couple weeks, but this week I dropped it at least 3 times. So much for the theory that by keeping track of how much we drop things, we’ll drop them less! :)

    I also remember dropping a large kitchen knife, and being happy that (1) it fell handle-end down, and when the blade fell it did not hit anything, (2) it didn’t fall on my foot, my cats, or my kids, (3) it didn’t gouge my hardwood floors, thanks to #1. It’s not a very sharp knife, but had it fallen tip-first, that wouldn’t have mattered!

    Reply
  • 23. spugbrap  |  April 11, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Oh yeah, and while thinking about how much I drop things, I realized that although my clumsiness does sometimes include dropping things, that’s the least of my concerns.

    Yesterday, during a 5-minute period in the middle of the day, I managed to catch my broken toe on the bottom of my pants as I was walking up some stairs. This yanked on my toe really hard, which hurt like hell, AND made me trip and fall on the hardwood stairs, undoubtedly causing numerous bruises that I haven’t yet noticed. Ouch!

    It also caused me to forget why I was going upstairs, so I went back down to the kitchen. I realized it was 2pm and I hadn’t eaten any lunch yet, so I grabbed a few things to snack on. One of those was a cucumber, and I decided I wanted to peel it (half the time I don’t, because most of the vitamins and stuff are in the peel, or just under it.. but I wanted to eat it faster, and the peel would have required more chewing time, so I decided to peel it).

    When I was almost done peeling it with a potato peeler, my hand slipped somehow and I ended up peeling my knuckle pretty hard, which caused the bloodiest injury I’ve had in a long time. It wasn’t HUGE, but I guess I don’t get very many cuts/scrapes/etc. that actually bleed, and usually when I do it’s not band-aid-worthy.

    This time, I had to spend several minutes applying pressure and carefully putting some neosporin on a knuckle band-aid with one hand, and then quickly switching from applying pressure with a paper towel, to putting that band-aid on.

    Anyways, that was probably way too much detail, but that 5 minutes sucked much more than any dropping-stuff incidents I’ve had in the past week!

    Reply
  • 24. Clint  |  April 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I really don’t think having a skin on your cucumber makes it take THAT much longer. The time to peel is probably greater!

    Reply
  • 25. Clint  |  April 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    …especially if you factor in treating wounds. hehe

    Reply
  • 26. chriggy@yahoo.com  |  April 11, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Clint beat me to it!

    Reply
  • 27. Sheila  |  September 5, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I found your entry while search for other people that are having trouble….dropping things. I don’t know if you have found out what is going on but I too am concerned about my growing (dropping) problem!!!
    Broke 2 ceramic pieces in the last month; those are memorable, plus numerous other small incidents, I’ll start to keep track, good idea!

    Reply
  • 28. Maymay  |  December 12, 2008 at 3:51 am

    I just found this thread while looking for reasons why i drop so much stuff…i cant seem 2 figure it out. I drop things so much ive about decided to go ahead and throw everything down that i pick up 2 save myself the worry of when im gonna drop it. I was wrapping presents 2nite and i dropped the sissors at least 10 plus times and another thing i do is misplace things. Sometimes i misplace things so bad i have to go buy another one and end up finding it months later..lol.

    Reply
  • 29. Lis  |  March 11, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Hi, interseting conversation here :) and a very interesting blog.
    I realized just few days ago, that I’ve been dropping things. at least 3 items a day. The worst is, I dropped my cellphone on a gutter. I wanna do the same like vicky and scott probably did, list them down. What’s the cure for this actually? I think it just represent that I’m a careless person.

    Reply
  • 30. jean-pierre  |  December 29, 2010 at 7:15 am

    For me I think it happens at transitional times when I have to spontaneously create a whole roster of new algorhythms For a new habitual continuous set of pathways

    The world is insane, always has, always will be, but heisenburg would prolly have a couple words to say to that.

    Without comparison there would be no ordering principal, and the world would be insecure. That’s why people don’t lay the streets with turf, wear flowers on their head and have free sx in some kind of freaky utopia.

    Reply

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