The Inflexion Point

August 30, 2006

I was reminded of this mathematical term a few months ago by a smart guy I work with; it refers to the point at which two trends heading in opposite directions finally pass each other. The moment, for example, the revenue from declining sales of last year’s car models is surpassed by the revenue from increasing sales of this year’s models.

I’m not convinced that it’s theoretically possible for my pugs to be getting stupider. Their brains were, at the peak of their mental prowess, wildly underpowered, haphazardly focused processing engines, the size of walnuts, with nearly the same capacity for retention & problem solving. Oscar would spontaneously choose items around the house that he found threatening, if they were new (or he hadn’t noticed them previously) and bark at them from a distance until something was done about the situation. Lola had a fear & suspicion of the Discovery channel that was so profound she would wake from the deepest REM slumber if a polar bear wandered onscreen so that she could fling herself across the room @ terminal velocity and fiercly defend the house from imminent bear invasion.

Yet somehow, stupid as they were, they seem to be slipping a bit. Lola has forgotten how to use the doggie door, and now just stares at it in trepidation (from both inside the house & out) until we open the door & let her in. Oscar has adopted the habit of trying to hump Lola, but doesn’t quite know how to do it, and so instead pounces on her directly from the side and vigorously sexually assaults her ribcage. Lola’s so confused by the whole process she just stands there, wondering what the hell is wrong with her retarded brother.

Meanwhile, every day the Little Baby Cupcake (“LBC”) gets smarter. She’s still behind them, in many ways. For example, the four of us were in the livingroom last week when the missus, out on a grocery shopping trip, called me on my cell. After the call, I said outloud “That was Mom”. The LBC had no idea what I was talking about, but the pugs immediately got up and ran to the front door, thinking I had announced their mother’s return from the store. For now, their grasp of English is better than hers, as is their mobility. But soon, it’s coming, the inflexion point. I wonder if I’ll notice the exact day it happened… “December 12th, 2006th, Emerson graduates from 5th to 3rd on House Intelligence Rankings*”…

*Yes, I have a house intelligence ranking. I store it in my massive brain.

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