The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 18: Let’s all learn Chinese!

June 27, 2016 § 20 Comments

Old bicycle racers focus a lot on their physical fitness but don’t pay as much attention to their mental faculties, which decline even faster with consequences even more dire than losing the 55-50 KOM for 225-lb-and-over on the Garbage Can Alley .01 Mile Segment.

Here is a quick test to see if your mind is rotting due to senility:

  1. You often forget things you’ve just read. T/F
  2. You often forget things you’ve just read. T/F

If you answered true, you have memory loss.

Rather than going out and doing a bunch of hill repeats, the best thing to beef up your soggy neurons are brain intervals. What is a brain interval? It is something devilishly, fiendishly difficult that will leave you gasping for air after a mere 2-4 minutes of effort.

The important thing is that you select something you used to be good at rather than something that you always wanted to try but never did. For example, when you are an old dude and you take up math, even though you were always horrible at math, you will quickly give up. So even though the fierce brain interval caused by trying to, say, add up five numbers in a column, will cause a great increase in brain sharpness, you’ll quickly give up by day three and be back to the same old, same old.

If you were one of those people who liked to study foreign languages when you were young back in the 1920’s, my advice is that you study Chinese. Now, a couple of qualifiers: If you’re already Chinese, this won’t help. Also, if you’re not already Chinese and you try to learn Chinese, you’ll sound like a complete fool no matter how many years you study it.

This is because Chinese has tones that completely change a word’s meaning. Problem is, you can’t hear the tones. Only Chinese people can. And while you’re sitting there smiling into your video cam while you do your online lesson with a cute teacher in Shanghai, and you think you’re saying, “I ate a hamburger last night,” because you got the tones all garfed up you’re actually saying, “I licked the dog’s butt last night.”

You’ll never know that, of course, because your teacher is very polite and she doesn’t give two hoots whether you ever learn Chinese or not as long as you keep paying the monthly lesson fee.

Still, even though you will never learn Chinese, it is so terribly hard that you will spend the rest of your life struggling with it and making practically zero progress, so it’s a lot like bike racing. Plus, each time you memorize a kanji (even though you forget it the next day), it will build approximate 200 new synapses. Example: Memorizing the characters 互聯網圖片is the neurological equivalent of growing three new brains.

Perhaps you don’t want to learn Chinese and figure that instead of three new brains you’d be happy learning Spanish, or Russian, or Igbo, and only getting the equivalent of one new brain’s worth of synapses. Regardless, you should visit www.italki.com, a language learning web site that offers instruction for pretty much any language in the world by native speakers at incredibly cheap rates. Its tag line is “Become fluent in any language!” which is of course a complete lie. You can also use the web site to do a free language exchange (these never work, by the way), where you swap a half-hour of conversation with an English learner who already speaks English better than you do, for a half-hour of murdering your target language with the fluency of a cat.

Check it out. You’ll soon be chattering away, and even though no one will understand you, you’ll be synapse-rich and doing crossword puzzles backwards while your bike racing compadres are drooling in the Alzheimer’s ward. If they aren’t already.

END

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§ 20 Responses to The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 18: Let’s all learn Chinese!

  • dangerstu says:

    For the record Mr Davidson are you in anyway associated with http://www.italki.com?

  • Brian says:

    I was hoping to grow some new lungs, but 3 new brains should do

  • Waldo says:

    I took the two question quiz at the beginning of the post but could not figure out what T/F meant. Presently, going to italki.com for some intensive English instruction.

  • nealhe says:

    I subscribe to Sherlock Holmes theory ….. like a computer ….. although he mentioned an attic …. there is only so much room up there …. and if you clutter up your brain with useless shit like Chinese characters (unless they are used as your tattoos) …….. you will run out of brain space and become a gibbering idiot.

    It is important to keep in mind that while intervals and a sound body will also be helpful to the proteins in your brain … it is still shrinking in size as you age ….

    That is why it is important to hone your ‘forgetting’ skills ……. to make more room in your shrinking brain …..

    • fsethd says:

      Ah, yes, the old “My room is an attic,” theory of neurology, proven by no one ever!

      • nealhe says:

        If Sherlock believed it ….. it had to be true ….. he even alluded to the outcome of the Brexit vote long before it happened …. I think it was in ‘The Hounds Of The Baskervilles’ ….I can’t remember for sure …….

      • fsethd says:

        I remember explaining to someone one time that Sherlock Holmes was a figment of Conan Doyle’s imagination. A fistfight ensued and I lost.

      • nealhe says:

        Egads! Fisticuffs are a very poor choice for a spaghetti armed bicycle racer … even though you certainly deserved a good thrashing for such an ignorant statement ……..

      • fsethd says:

        Agreed.

  • sibex9591 says:

    My daughter, who just returned from 3 years living in China is running facetime tutor sessions if you are interested in making sure you are not saying “I like licking dog’s butts when I am thirsty for tree sap” when you meant something completely different.

    • fsethd says:

      Anyone who can teach Chinese after a mere three years is way too smart for a dummy like me.

  • Quiche says:

    Ah, but exercise DOES improve your brain/memory!
    http://time.com/4369529/exercising-after-a-task-improves-memory/

  • zigak says:

    I used to challenge my brain with what I called ancient Greece philosophy approach. They were famous for just thinking, without any physical activity. So let’s say you see something unusual, like some sort of optical illusion. If you would just move one meter and change the perspective you would figure it out immediately. But no, you have to do it out without moving. After 5 minutes you go: ahh those are the boxer shorts I was looking for, they were stuck in a vase all this time. Voila a dozen new neurons.
    With kids the brain gyming changed a little, now I’m trying to figure out if they’re roarcrying because of something life threatening or just pure evil, all this without moving from my recliner.

    • fsethd says:

      Several key features make this a winner:
      1. Without moving from my recliner.
      2. Boxer shorts stuck in the vase.

      Where do I sign up?

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