Architecture is a prediction, and all predictions are wrong —Stewart Brand
Watch a modern-day Major League Baseball player step up to the plate. He shuffles his feet moving the dirt around in the batters box before he finally digs in. He’ll tug at his uniform every which way, and unsnap and snap his batting gloves. If we’re lucky, he’ll eventually realize that there are 30-40,000 fans waiting for him to swing his bat and settle in to face the pitcher. And that’s just before the first pitch. If he’s a disciplined hitter and works the count (swings at mostly strikes and fouls off tough pitches), he’ll be up there for a while, repeating his numerous bodily maneuvers after each pitch. Some stay at home plate so long, the only way to get them out of there is with a 30-day notice.
My mother was a bookkeeper, first for the Air Force during World War II, and later for my father’s business. She liked to organize bank statements, write checks, pay bills, and reconcile her bank accounts, of which she had several. The IRS requires that you keep the previous seven years of expense records to support your business, but my mother exceeded that requirement by 400 percent. When she passed away, in addition to the business records, she had multiple checking accounts, about 30 credit cards, investments with several financial consultants and banks, along with years of records.
Making life easier for those you leave behind includes both the simple and the complicated, both the painless and the unsettling. To illustrate, I’ll start with an example of these extremes. First the simple:
A couple of years ago, I injured my elbow tendon badly enough that it took months to heal. Not only could I not work out, I couldn’t even wrestle the lid off a jar, which took away one of the few reasons my wife keeps me around. Feeling the pressure, I looked for a surrogate jar opener, and the ladies at the local kitchen store introduced me to this tool that loosens lids by cracking the vacuum seal.
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