The Spork Theory
Many of you are probably familiar with Spoon Theory, summarized as “Christine Miserandino’s personal story and analogy of what it is like to live with sickness or disability.”
I would like to propose a new theory, one which builds upon this model and explores what it’s like to live with people’s stupidity. I’m calling it Spork Theory.
Imagine you have a dozen sporks. Over the course of each day, it’s likely you’ll encounter stupidity, and you’ll have the urge to stab it with a spork. For the average person, twelve sporks might be enough to get you through the day.
But some of us work in customer support … and spend way too much time online.
You come into work, passing the idiot who parked in the handicap spot “just to run a quick errand.” Sporkstab!
You walk to your office, settle in, and take your first call from someone who has a question about an e-mail they received … a question which is answered in the very first paragraph of the e-mail. Sporkstab!
Eventually you take a break and go online, where you find yourself reading the comments about a black actor wanting to audition for Spider-Man. Stabbity stabbity, and there go two more sporks.
An e-mail forward pops up with the subject line “The Real Truth About Obama”…
Before you know it, it’s lunchtime and you’re down to three sporks to get you through the rest of the day. A coworker shows up, interrupting you at exactly the wrong time, and you forget to program your insulin pump for your lunch dose. Selfsporkstab! (Ask not for whom the spork stabs … it stabs for me.)
You do your best to ration those last two sporks. You flee the blog post about The End Of Publishing. You save a few e-mails to answer tomorrow morning. On the drive home, you switch radio stations when the DJ starts talking. If you’re lucky and very careful, you might just make it to the end of the day without going into spork defecit.
I’ve had to learn that you can’t sporkstab all the stupid. You have to think about the stupidity you’re likely to encounter that day. You prioritize your sporks. Sometimes you have to smile and grit your teeth when you’d rather be sporkstabbing.
So if you send me a link to something stupid and I don’t get back to you, or I don’t blog about it, please don’t take it personally. I’m just trying to conserve my sporks.
While I had way too much fun writing this parody, I also have tremendous respect for Miserandino’s Spoon Theory, which I found to be a very effective and simple metaphor for something most of us don’t think about or understand. I showed it to my wife (who lives with chronic pain, among other issues), and she had one of those “Yes! That!” reactions. It’s helped me to understand some things better, and I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.
June 17, 2010 @ 10:07 am
I never thought of applying Miserandino’s wonderful spoon theory to stupidity before but your spork theory makes perfect sense. It does explain why I put off certain emails, etc and why I have lolcats bookmarked as a pick-me-up.
June 17, 2010 @ 10:08 am
I would be willing to settle for even half that many sporks to stab with; some customers are just asking for it. And some sales reps to, when they promise what we can’t deliver and it falls to my department to deal with that.
Now to go read up on this Spoon Theory, which I imagine will amuse me far less but may give me understanding for something I don’t have to live with.
Jim C. Hines
June 17, 2010 @ 10:47 am
Interesting … I wonder if LOLCats and other remedies can increase one’s spork supply. Further testing is warranted.
Jim C. Hines
June 17, 2010 @ 10:48 am
Spoon theory is worth reading. I know it helped me to get a better grasp on certain things.
I spent a year working in and managing a computer repair shop. You have my sympathy.
June 17, 2010 @ 11:28 am
I have to say, reading the words “stabbity stabbity” might increased my spork supply, just like LOLcats!
And I did enjoy reading the Spoon Theory thing. It did make me think about things in a different way, a more concrete way, and I hope that it will stick with me so that I can have more empathy and understanding for people who have to live that way. It did make me wish I could go back and apologize to the gradeschool teacher with fibromyalgia that we always gave a hard time, I can’t imagine how she did what she did. We must have taken all of her spoons most days.
June 17, 2010 @ 12:17 pm
Thank you for supplying the link to the spoon-theory. It was new to me and such a great way to explain dealing with illness or disability. Maybe now I can explain to some people what it feels like when my depression acts up and I suddenly find myself incapable of dealing even with the simplest things. It does make things much clearer and easier to grasp of a practical level.
As for the spork-theory: OH YES! Especially when you deal with customers or sales-people (both sides, customer and sales-support). Today I had one potential customer that deserved not only one spork but two, just for good measure. I’m still wondering just how to answer that e-mail without sounding snide and telling said potential customer that he’s an idiot incapable of such basic skill like reading.
June 17, 2010 @ 12:25 pm
Having been on the receiving end of one of Jim’s sporkstabs, trust me, he’s wicked mean with them. He’s like a spork ninja.
June 17, 2010 @ 1:17 pm
Love it! I hadn’t read The Spoon Theory but now that I have, I plan to use it. I love analogies for “complex” issues to everyday problems. I’ve spent my career working in IT and have often been able to get an IT concept understood by doing this.
Additionally, I have ulcerative colitis. I’m constantly explaining (or so it feels) that if I do A, I have to do B. There’s always a trade off of some sort. Nothing is free, as The SPoon Theory states.
The spork theory, OTOH, made me laugh because, for me and my illness, sporks ARE spoons. (Duh!) Ulcerative colitis is adversely affected by stress so I’m always carefully guarding my horde of sporks so that I have some in reserve for when I most need them.
Jim C. Hines
June 17, 2010 @ 3:26 pm
I want to add that to my business cards:
Jim C. Hines
Fantasy Author and Spork Ninja!
June 17, 2010 @ 3:37 pm
I think a lot of us are right there with you, Daniela! My option for *THOSE* customers is usually “I apologize for any miscommunication! As I stated previously, [quote the original message]. I apologize if this was unclear; what I meant was [explanation in great detail with small words and simple sentances].” But that is because I am passive agressive with my sporks, sometimes. 😀
June 17, 2010 @ 4:05 pm
I won’t ask how your day went today, from now on I’ll just ask, “How many sporks are left?”
Of Spoons and Sporks « The Open Window
June 18, 2010 @ 9:42 pm
[…] http://www.jimchines.com/2010/06/spork-theory/ Posted in Humor, Life. Tags: Christine Miserandino, chronic pain, humor, interesting writings, Jim C. Hines, sporks. Leave a Comment » […]
June 22, 2010 @ 1:21 am
I work in customer service too. …I think I need more sporks 🙁
Writer Wednesday Blog Hop #22 « By W. J. Howard
June 23, 2010 @ 7:40 am
[…] also chuckled when I read The Spork Theory on Jim C. Hines […]
June 26, 2010 @ 5:19 pm
While I have read the Spoon Theory (which title deserves a spork to the groin all by itself – it’s not a theory, it’s an analogy!) and appreciate the analogy for making a subtle but very real issue more clear to those not dealing with such issues I would really like to stick a spork in the eye of all the people I’ve seen post to their LJ or Facebook journal the message “I’m out of spoons today,” without further information of any sort. Because EVERYONE has read the story and knows EXACTLY what you’re talking about, without wondering why it’s worth blogging that you ran out of flatware. Did you forget to buy more plastic utensils last shopping trip? Is the diswasher broken, and you can’t hand wash because of the cast on your arm? What the hell is the big deal? Seriously, I saw references to spoons on LJ for months before I found out what these people were talking about.
A spork in EACH eye for those who use this ridiculous short hand instead of simply saying “I’m tired,” when they don’t have any sort of debilitating disease or condition. Your fatigue after a full day digging the garden or building the new garage is normal tiredness. It’s not a lack of spoons.
(and, lest you think I’m hating on the disabled, I know, and am friends with, many people who can legitimately use this analogy – and they don’t assume everyone knows what “out of spoons” means.)