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On The Beer

mark wood

by Mark Wood

The Dial Tone Theory

In my line of recreation, I get to meet a lot of interesting characters such as Smokin' Joe, Jimmy Two Fires and lately Hoolio and Bruce. The latter, Bruce, is sort of in the intellectual property biz nurturing his ideas over the span of years, and occasionally, a lifetime. Now, Hool' & the b'ys have short but intense attention spans like unto shooting stars, so I queried Bruce on his methods.

He explained that the conscious mind is occupied with the usual everyday tasks, taking in ambient sounds, concentrating on immediate concerns and wondering what to have for lunch. Whereas the subconscious mind, when unlocked, can throw out random thoughts that can be harvested into ideas. Bruce called it "Dial Tone". You can't move on to the next big idea until you get the subconscious dial tone. For him it's a trip to the cabin, away from technology with time to putter around, barbecue and sip beer. He looks like any other kid on the beach but he's really getting Dial Tone.

Incidentally, I checked with my friend in the phone biz and he confirmed that it's common practice to send rookie technicians back to the service truck for a "bag of dial tone", but I digress.

Bruce gets to the cabin/dial tone a couple of times a year, whereas I'm hanging up the mental phone every Fryday Nite. That didn't sound right, allow me to redeem myself: We have a few Smokey Browns by the fire and tell stories. A virtual "jrink and think tank". (That's where I got the colossal idea to spell "drink" with a "J". ) We're a lot like the ancient Roman senate. They did the same thing: checked their ideas in the morning to see if they still had merit and actually coined the phrase "sober second thought".

Let's recap: jrink, fire, dial tone, sober second thought. Does it work? That's where I got this story.

A big hello to my fans at Long Brothers press, thanks for making us look so good, we're celebrating seven years of "On The Beer".

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.