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What Basic Life Skill Have You Never Mastered?

A Tweet from @jdesmondharris opened up the floodgates for people who, as adults, can't tie their shoelaces in a bow or read an analog clock. It seems everyone has at least one basic life skill that they just never mastered, and often it's a secret shame.

It's no secret I never learned to touch type, but I grew up in a time when that was not considered a basic life skill, and you had to take a class to learn it. Now that the letters have worn off the e, r, and t on my keyboard, it can get weird. I also cannot whistle to save may life. Sometimes it happens when I try, but that's mostly by accident. At my day job, I was surprised by how many people cannot tie an apron around their back by themselves.

A huge number of people have trouble finding their way around. Some have trouble with maps, others with directions, and some can't tell left from right. Then there are  few who didn't realize their training was geographically specific.

Some of the replies are downright surprising.

You can see plenty more responses at Lifehacker, like this one from panthercougar:

Many years ago, when my now wife and I were first living together, she called me at work for instructions on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. My coworker, who heard my half of the conversation, thought it was hilarious.

That was followed by many stories of people who make grilled cheese the "wrong" way. There are more contributions in the comments at Metafilter, like the deficits splen admits to.

I am unable to blow a bubble with bubble gum. I will carry that shame with me to the grave, it just isn't happening.

I also have a natural aversion to diving into a pool. It ends up being a belly flop no matter what. If I were hoisted by my feet above a pool and dropped straight down, somehow I'd end up turning 90 degrees.

The good news is that these are people who manage to navigate everyday life just fine without that one skill they never mastered. For the most part.  

(Image credit: asobuno)


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I cannot back up a vehicle towing a trailer of any type. Finally gave up trying to learn about 30 years ago. All I was doing was providing entertainment for anyone looking on.
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I can't make that rolling-R sound in speech, that every language has uses for. I developed a trick to fake it, that I call /The Technique/, involving shaking my head quickly and hard to flabble the lips and tongue just on the R part of a word, which /almost/ sounds right, but it looks funny and makes my brain hurt. I've tried everything. A video titled /How to roll your R's/ turned out to be just a woman facing away from the camera, bending over and rolling her arse, all /ha ha/. So cruel. This has been a source of shame all my life. Why can't I? I don't ever even bring it up anymore, because the other person always goes, "It's easy. You just do /this/," and then they explain how to hold the inside of your mouth and what to do with your tongue and so on, always the same, the thing I've tried and tried and can't do, and then of course they do it to demonstrate, as if. NNnngh!
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