I Schussle

Pa dutchWhen I was younger, my mother often used to tell me, “You schussle!” 

That’s a Pennsylvania Dutch word, which according to the Pennsylvania Dutch Dictionary means “to move too hastily”. In my case my mother meant I rushed, and rushing led to careless mistakes.

The first time I recall her saying it was when she was looking over my first or second grade report card with me.

And I have to admit that it’s true. I tend to be very impatient about nearly everything, so I generally schussle when I ought to slow down a bit.

One area where this tendency really hurt me was in nearly every arithmetic and math course I ever took. I loved practically all math courses, and I especially loved them when we got into algebra and geometry—the logic genuinely appealed to me.

But I think if I review my old report cards (I do have a few of them stashed in a box somewhere in the basement) I’ll find that I didn’t get too many A’s in math courses. When doing the homework or taking the tests, I would schussle and make a few careless mistakes.

And I’ve continued to schussle pretty much all my life.

Not that long ago I was trying to measure the area of a wall. I got the measurements of each section, converted them to inches, multiplied them, and added up the results. Then, to convert the answer into square feet, of course I divided by 12.

And got a wildly wrong result.

Because if I had put even a moment’s thought into it, I would have realized that to convert square inches to square feet I needed to divide by the square of 12.


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