3V1181.1

3V1181.01 Blocks microworld: “Clever little blocks” (4/17/81)

Peggy was introduced to computers with P168 and P169. We talked a little today about what she was doing with the computer upstairs. She replied that she was “making the blocks walk.” I asked if she was able to make the blocks turn yet. She replied, “No, they turn themselves.” (they turn 180 degrees by demon intervention at screen edge.) When I asked her why (fishing for her recall of the anthropomorphic metaphor, of their turning around when they encounter a wall) she answered, “They’re clever little blocks.”

Besides being true, Peggy’s observation is interesting because she is applying to these computational objects the label “clever” which she has recently applied with clear pride and self-congratulation (applied) to herself. These past few weeks, it has been clearly important to Peggy that she calls herself
“clever.” Frequently, when she has done something we approve of or find amusing, we say, “You’re a clever little rabbit,” oftimes accompanied by a hug or some other expression of affection. The expression comes by paraphrase from a nonsense verse of Walt Kelly’s”
“See the rabbits in the wood
..Eating porridge as they should…
…..Those clever little bunnies….”
Another example of Peggy’s feeling for the computer arose when I decided to bring it downstairs (to free up a table for working on my chain saw.) She pestered me a little, “When are you going to bring down the beautiful computer?”

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