Spreadsheets Make Me Uneasy

Here’s some random insight into the person that is Kirk – working with spreadsheets, heck even thinking about them, makes me feel …. uneasy ….. unsettled ….. anxious.

When you open a new spreadsheet, you’re shown the first 10 columns or so and the first 40 rows – or whatever your monitor can show.  But start to work within it and you’ll notice something: you can’t run out of rows or columns.  There’s always another row you can add or see.  So how many rows are there, exactly?  Well, there’s the part that makes me anxious – it’s an infinitely large document, in two dimensions.  Go ahead, open one up and scroll to the bottom right corner of the document … YOU CAN’T!

Think about it (or put yourself in my neurotic shoes) – when you work with a spreadsheet you’re manipulating something that is infinitely large in both the x and y-axis.  When you open a spreadsheet, add a single cell of info, and save that file, you’re wrapping up infinity in that file – twice.

This just unnerves me.  It makes spreadsheets feel unnautral, unwieldy, inefficient, and dangerously brazen in their assumption that they can so easily capture infinity, twice, inside.  How dare they be so audacious, and how dare the world use them so flippantly!

P.S. I know a word processing document can have unlimited pages, but that’s only infinity in one dimension so my brain doesn’t seem too perturbed by them.  In fact it seems to relish that unlimited potential and enjoys working with it.  It’s the fact that spreadsheets do this in two dimensions that seems to be the keystone of my neurosis.

2 thoughts on “Spreadsheets Make Me Uneasy”

  1. holly crap Kirk! what is going to happen when you step outside and can move to infinety in 3 dimensions, in both directions no less! 🙂 not to mention the time domain.

  2. Yes, but I’m not trying to package up infinity there, no effort to really contain it all. I can experience it just fine, even sauntering about in it. But contain it? Encompass it? Yikes, no way.

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