edwardsFarrell Edwards was a physics professor at Utah State University when I attended in 1968-69. (Still is.)

Among many other things, he taught me the “Edwardian Theory” (below).  He taught me charity and kindness – not that I became charitable or kind, but he did set the example.

He took a hungry student into his home and let me pound a few nails and other odd jobs in exchange for food.

He was the best man at my wedding.

His wife Ann presented him with a basketball team of children.  He would wake them up every morning with classical music piped through various speakers.

Farrell had such a neat idea, when my wife and I had six children of our own, I strung up a speaker in each bedroom and woke them up with classical music Monday through Thursday.  Sunday it was hymns.  Fridays, it was comedy records.  My favorite comedy records included every release from Bill Cosby.

BillcosbywonderfulnessCosby’s best track ever was “Chicken Heart” from his WONDERFULNESS album.  It is divided into two sections.  The first part is about him being told to stay in bed when his parents go out for the night.

Cosby then announces, “I told you that story so I can tell you this one.”

The “rest of the story” tells about his listening to a radio program about a giant chicken heart that escapes from the lab. It is an awesome bit to re-tell, especially if you can imitate his sound effects!!!

I told you that story so I can tell you this one – the Edwardian Theory.

If you have a problem you can’t solve, try this.

“List all the possible solutions to your problem on a sheet of paper,” he told me. “Be sure to list all of the possibilities, even the dumb ones. It won’t work if you try it only in your head. You must write it down.”

“Then cross off the most outrageous ideas first. Next, cross off the impossible answers. Keep whittling off the unacceptable ideas until you get to a few really plausible solutions. You’ll find in short order the problem is no where as big as you first imagined.”

“By writing down all the possibilities first, when you get down to the last couple of solutions, you will be surprised to see how clearly the answer shines. When you start writing down all the possibilities, things may not be so obvious, but as your pen or pencil actively marks off items on the list, voila, the answer suddenly appears!”

Here is a sample of how the Edwardian Theory might work. Let’s say you can’t decide between dating someone with red hair or someone with brown hair. Remember, you must write everything down first. Then start crossing off the non-starters.

* I won’t date either one.

* I will date the red-head first, and hope the brown-haired one doesn’t hear about it.

* I will date the brown-haired one first, and hope the red-head doesn’t hear about it.

* I will date both of them at once.

* I will stop dating all together.

* I will postpone any decision until after such-and-such a day.

* I will date the blonde instead.

* I will rent a movie instead.

* I will move out-of-state.

I’ve not always followed the Edwardian Theory to the letter, but that does not invalidate the concept.







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