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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Do we pay attention?

This was forwarded to me in an email so I have no idea of its origin and is probably old, but it amused me so I just couldn’t resist using it in my blog as I couldn’t condense it enough for my Facebook wall:

This is the best example for paying attention that I have ever  heard.

First-year students at the Vet School were attending their first anatomy class with a real dead cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered with a white sheet.

The professor started the class by telling them, "In Veterinary medicine it is necessary to have  two important qualities as a doctor. The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the animal's body." For an example, the professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the butt
of the cow, withdrew it, and stuck his finger in his mouth. "Go ahead and do the same thing," he told his students.

The students freaked out, hesitated for several minutes, but eventually took turns sticking a finger in the butt of the dead cow and sucking on it.

When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and said, "The second most important quality is observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger.

Now learn to pay attention.

It is so very true – we think we are paying attention but are we?  We are not really watching or listening that closely all the time so very often and miss important things.  LOL - and I am not just talking about our men here – although that is a very good point as they have it down to a fine art.  They have even learnt to mutter or grunt in the right places without listening to a word you have said – do we have a slight pause or an intonation in our voice that their subconscious knows is the point to produce an “mmm” as is they are really listening?  And do we know if they have heard us or not – no chance. 

Back to people in general paying attention – I know I for one would make a terrible witness.  I never notice anything, probably due to being shy, but I don’t actually “see” people when I am out shopping or whatever, as I have my mind on what I am doing.  If something happened very fast and the police asked me to describe the person afterwards I am pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to give them much information.

It gets worse as people get older – how many times do your hear the same stories from your older friends?  How many times do they watch the same television programme and not realise they have seen it before?  So would you say they are paying attention?  The good thing about it for them is the fact that there are new television programmes all the time so they don’t get fed up with there being nothing to watch like the rest of us.

But I wonder how many of us would actually get caught out in the same way as the students in the vets story?


  1. We did see a robbery, when on holiday in the U.S. a few years ago. We had to identify the fellow, after the police picked him up. It was interesting, because I have a type of ADD that actually over focuses, so I was able to identify several small things about him that hubby had not noticed ie birth mark, small tattoo, lazy eye. Hubby on the other hand, was much surer about his overall facial features. Very interesting post!


  2. What interesting things you noticed Brenda and wow the things you noticed are very distinguishing marks and very good proof of someones identity.