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November 23, 2003 - Sunday
There is a story about me that has often been told about how I have trouble making decisions. I was something like eight years old and with my family on a vacation in California in the gift shop of some tourist attraction. I don't remember which, but it hardly matters. I had a collection of owl statuettes in my room at home and this particular shop had several clay owls. My parents said I could get one and they couldn't have been very expensive, but I took the choice very seriously, weighing the subjective and objective value of each. The details are now rather sketchy, but it suffices to say that I, and thus my family and the shop cashier, was there for a long time. It was definitely many minutes at least and perhaps the better part of a half hour. As I recall, I narrowed the field down substantially, from perhaps a couple of dozen to just a few, in relatively little time. But, then it got tough. To this day I can remember evaluating the two finalists and talking openly about their relative merits, all the while knowing that everyone else in the shop had long since lost patience and was not particularly interesting in my monologue. The resolution of it all was not that I made a decision, but that the shop cashier, recognizing the frustration all around, finally said I could take both for the price of one.

Harry doesn't usually take all that long deciding which of his halloween candies he will eat after dinner, but there's a lot about this little routine of spreading them all out on the table and evaluating the choices that feels very familiar to me.

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