My wife, the lovely DJ L’il Bit, was standing next to me in the kitchen one day, and telling me about one of her friends: “she likes to measure out everything, she’s a thorough person, you know the type, she’s a measuring Jew.” All this as I was pouring my breakfast cereal into a one-cup measure so that I could, you know, have the calories advertised on the side of the box. Little did I know that there was a whole class of people like me.
It’s not that I deny my label. You might even describe me, and the Jewish people I know, as either “rather messy” or “excessively specific.” I think of myself as tending towards the former but that might just be a little bit of that old self-doubt creeping through. There’s some evidence. Like, the measuring of the cereal. Like, the measuring of everything else.
Getting an iPhone just made it worse: now I have a tool to track everything I do, at my side all the time. It’s like giving miniature roses to the residents of my old neighborhood. I track the normal stuff, like my tasks and time and all my clients. I’m tracking my mileage — hey, it’s a good tax write-off! I track my weight. Since I want to lose that fat on my midsection, I track my workouts too. I track if I take my vitamins and if I fix my own lunch or eat out and things like that. It’s all very… existentially rewarding. Who doesn’t want to quantify their own performance and enjoyment?