I went outside to work in the front lawn. Over the low wood-and-wire fence I saw a little boy next door, sitting on a tricycle, revving the handlebars. It is not your average tricycle. It is black tubing and oversize chrome fenders, with raised handlebars and a rearview mirror. The little boy is not wildly revving the handlebars, with great engine noises like boys in general so often do (and I suspect this one does now and then). No, this boy is intently trying out different amounts of imaginary revving done just so, apparently in a bid to find out exactly how much wrist action is needed for precisely the imaginary effect he wants. He is, in short, trying to figure out how to get the most out of his machine. We are talking nuance. Finesse. Professionalism. I had seen him riding this tricycle earlier in the day, towing a wagon up and down the sidewalk with great gusto. He had been quite intent on learning great rearview mirror skills, I'd noticed, which had made things appear slightly dicey for people in front of him. He'd always noticed people in time, though, at least while I was watching. (For what it's worth, I hadn't heard any shouts, either, when I wasn't watching.)
He looks up to see me smiling at him.
"This looks something like a motorcycle, don't you think?" he asks me.
"Why yes it does," I reply. I am rewarded handsomely with a thousand watt smile.
"Did you see what I was pulling earlier?"
"It was a wagon, wasn't it?"
"I mean, did you see what I had in the wagon?"
"Apples, wasn't it?"
"Yes, apples. But I put them all away," he tells me, sheepishly proud. He is, I gather, one of those boys who has discovered the difference between a job half-done and one done to completion, and he wishes me to know that.
And then he excuses himself. He has something else he must go do. He is a busy little man.
Quotation of the Day… - (Don Boudreaux) … is from my friend the superb economist and wit Dwight Lee (as related by my colleague Larry White in the comments section of this EconLog...
2 hours ago