I have been an ASS

My confession: I have been an ASS:

Confession, Forgiveness, Apology

 

When I was in high school, I used to think that EVERYTHING was ‘lame’ and / or cruel:

(Can you see the pattern in the list below?)

  • School rules were cruel because they favoured the ‘perfect students’ and they were lame because they just made no sense.
  • Teachers were cruel because they favoured the ‘well-behaved’ students.
  • The good kids were lame because they obeyed the lame rules.
  • Sporting activities were cruel because they made us non-athletes look stupid (see picture below).

Not athletic

  • Sporting activities were cruel because they were won by the lame students who obeyed the lame school rules as set out by the lame teachers.

 

By the way, I ALSO hated:

  • people who wore pink,

People who wear pink

  • the concept of ‘white picket fences’,
  • mothers in shops whose babies were crying,
  • girls that wore pink make-up,
  • girls that wanted to have a pony,

girls who want a pony

  • girls with perfect hair,
  • girls with long legs.

blonde girls with long legs

 

I was a teenager filled with unkind thoughts that were often not based on any real facts. I despised everything and everyone from the school cheerleaders to the school prefects to the school beauty queens.

I basically thought that these people were aliens from another planet. And, I was not particularly nice or friendly towards them. Why? Because I was an ASS. 

(It was much easier to mock the cheerleader than to admit that I wasn’t pretty or co-ordinated or popular enough to be a cheerleader myself)

 

How do I know that I was an ASS?

Some time ago, a new person started working here at the College. When I first met her I thought that she was the type of person that, in many ways, represented the kinds of people that I would have despised back in my teenage years.

In my mind, my new colleague was:

  • the typical school cheerleader – She is such a happy person and she just loves team spirit activities.
  • the school beauty queen – She is tall, blonde and beautiful.
  • the typical beautiful girl with perfect blonde hair and perfect long legs.

Basically, I thought that she was somebody that was SO different from me.

I now have to eat a huge slice of humble pie:

humble pie

 

 

 

 

 

This new colleague:

  • Is one of the COOLEST, NON-LAME people that I know,
  • She is one of the SMARTEST people that I know,
  • She is one of the KINDEST people that I know,
  • She is so not even remotely cruel that she wouldn’t even hurt a flea,
  • She is one of the FUNNIEST people that I know,
  • She is one of the most ASSERTIVE people that I know.

And, in addition, this colleague helped me to realise that I was an ASS because she pointed out just how similar her and I are!!

similar

  • We both love the same perfume,
  • We both love the same wine,
  • We both love drinking LOTS of wine,
  • We both love to make potjiekos,
  • We both love to tell funny stories about our youth,
  • We both love road trips and adventures,
  • We both love standing up for what we believe in,
  • We both have very loving hearts,
  • We live in the same neighbourhood,
  • We work at the same place,
  • We both used to be rebels,
  • We both like ‘souvenirs’ from places we visit.

The list could go on and on.

We are so similar that we joke that we could have been sisters. People just like her are people just like me.

PS:

If ever I am stranded with a group of people on a deserted island, I can only hope that she will be there with me:

Stranded

  • She will keep me happy and laughing with all her motivational and team activities,
  • She will find a way to steal (for both of us) the last of the remaining wine,
  • She will find a way to make me look pretty in spite of being stranded on a deserted island,
  • She will stand up to anybody who tries to hurt my feelings,
  • She will keep me entertained with all her amazing stories,
  • She will be physically strong enough to build us a shelter (she’s given birth to 3 kids … so this basically makes her Superwoman!!),
  • She will be able to pick fruit from the tall tree branches because of her lovely long legs.

 

And, final PS:

If ever I find somebody to marry, I want her to organise the whole wedding. Because of her, I know that I will be able to have the craziest wedding with 1 000 pink ponies, fountains of red wine, rainbows and unicorns.

She’s so super cool … and I am honoured to call her my friend.

I will try to be less of an ass in the future …

Awaken Your Fire

Hi there everybody,

 

Just a very quick message to all of you:

 

You are not lost

 

All that is gold does NOT glitter,

Not all those who wander are LOST;

The old that is strong does NOT wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ASHES a FIRE shall be WOKEN,

A light from the SHADOWS shall spring;

RENEWED shall be blade that WAS BROKEN,

The crownless again shall be KING.

 

 

Take care of yourselves and have a great weekend!

Free-form poetry and spoon-bending

Last week I wrote a blog about the supercomputer vs. human brain. And sometime before that I enumerated some study methods and techniques. It’s quite exhausting writing these blog posts, because it takes plenty of deliberating, research, and planning. So, this week I’m kicking back and taking a break from writing such posts. Today, I want to write something simple and off the top of my head, without giving it too much thought.

This is actually quite a liberating feeling, truth be told. I can say and do anything! There are infinite possibilities and I’m not sure what’s going to come out in the end – so watch this space!

Smiley face

This actually reminds me of something I once read on the topic of human language: Have you ever realised that even though the English dictionary has only a limited number of words, we use language so imaginatively that you can, right at this moment, write a sentence that no one in existence has ever written before?

I can make up something totally new and truly original (a new creation), for example:

“Of all the pink elephants in the room, the one with the guitar between his toes is probably the best mannered one of the lot.”

As nonsensical as it may seem, in all likelihood that sentence has never ever (ever) been written or spoken by anyone throughout all the thousands of years of human speech!

There is something very exciting about the endless possibilities that language and human creativity present us with. It reminds me of one of my favourite poets, E. E. Cummings (he often eccentrically wrote his name unpunctuated as “e e cummings”).

Here is his poem, The Sky Was:

The Sky Was - e e cummings

Not only is it freeform poetry, without confining to rhythmic structures of quatrains and couplets, but it totally bursts out of every moulded idea of what poems, sentences, and words shouldlook like!

I think that’s what people (myself included) often forget – that there are actually endless possibilities for everything, but we are blind to them, because we usually just stick to our formulas and common usages. We don’t always fully embrace the fact that we are inherently creative and imaginative beings. And this advice is not just for writers, graphic designers, or creative course students.

I think it is especially working professionals who get too caught up in the ‘right’ way of doing things (by ‘right’, I mean the standard, predictable, formal, formulaic, moulded, mundane, boring, structured way of doing things). You just continue following the formula you are used to (whatever it may be) and get less and less creative in the time being. And the more ‘boring’ the job, the easier it is to do it more boringly.

In every field, profession, or area of expertise, there is the potential for profound change and new things. We call this paradigm shifts: the discovery of a whole new way of thinking about something. Even an accountant can think of an unorthodox new way of keeping books, and thus change the whole industry’s way of doing things.

I’m not just saying you need to think outside the box, for even thinking outside the box has become too boring. With everyone always encouraging you to think this way, thinking outside the box has become the new thinking inside the box. To me, ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the box doesn’t seem to do justice for the infinite possibilities of the human imagination. It still sounds so limiting. What about realising there is no box? It’s almost like that scene from The Matrix:

Do not try to bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth... there is no spoon.

Now I know, I’m not being that creative myself right now: I’m still writing in paragraphs, using quotations, and punctuating my sentences. But I want to try to be more imaginative in the things I do – even when it’s just sitting behind my desk at work with a mundane task at hand. I think that anyone can become better at what they do, if they release their imagination from those old, tired ways of thinking.

e e cummings poem