In 2001, (pre-nine eleven) when George W. Bush took office (after a close race with Gore… remember the hanging chad debacle?), dozens of computers were discovered with missing W keys. This “prank” did not extend to the West Wing, although in other areas of the White House, they were pried clean off the White House computers! The W’s that remained on some of the keyboards had a missing or damaged spring beneath the W rendering the W useless. Some of the W’s in question were found taped over really high doorways, but the majority of them were never located, and the culprit(s) never discovered. Those ballots in Florida caused an uproar and it was a close race. It took months to decide on a winner. Many thought Gore “should’ve” won. The pilfered W’s were assumed to have been a cryptic message aimed at Bush.
But that’s the problem with cryptic things.
There’s a lot of assumption, innuendo, inference, hidden meaning and mystery.
It’s human nature, isn’t it- to assume that one act (the close election) precipitated the one to follow (the stolen W keys). It’s true to an extent-there are reactions to actions everywhere around us. Negative events so often trigger negative reactions or uprisings. Just look at police/citizen relations right now.
Sometimes an unexpected, even positive reaction follows a negative occurrence. The legendary Bono recently injured himself so badly he may never play guitar again. He quipped that his band mates assure him that the fate of western civilization doesn’t hinge on whether he’ll ever play guitar again. It really is crucial to one’s mental health to put things in perspective.
Let’s go far out- to an astronaut’s perspective for a moment. Have you ever seen videos of Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield? He’s that guy who sang Bowie’s hit “Ground control to Major Tom” from space. You should see his videos. His perspective from outer space is one that the vast majority of us will never have. He says,
Our world is not as bad a place as we often feel it to be. It is easy to look to the future and lament how far there is left to go, but sometimes it is helpful to stop and reflect on just how far we’ve come.
That’s easy for him to say. The entire world gets more and more cryptic every day. And trying to figure it all out is confounding.
Planes full of people disappear without a trace of any debris.
People are doing “random punching” out on the streets and in some cases not only knocking people out but they die as a result.
Weather is a conundrum.
Like I said the world has become mysterious and downright scary.
That’s why Bono’s response to his injuries is not only grounded and sane but refreshing too.
Hadfield’s perspective is unique. You and I will never view the world from space in real physical time, will we? Hadfield and Bono wave white flags. I succumb! I accept! The world is bigger and more profound than the likes of me will ever comprehend.
Communication is often cryptic. That is to say: veiled in assumption, innuendo, inference, hidden meaning, mystery. I’ve been trying to unravel cryptic things since I was old enough to ask,
“Why is the sky always changing? Sometimes grey, blue or black?” I always had to KNOW.
Take for example my mother’s balls of yarn. I’d sit behind the old recliner (with the duct tape repair jobs across its lap) and I’d literally unravel the mystery of her skeins. I had to know what was inside at the center of those balls of yarn. And so I’d unravel them, one by one to see what was at the center: a piece of cardboard folded in half that she’d used to start winding the yarn around, to form the ball or maybe I’d find an old envelope with my grandmother’s writing on it, folded five times in on itself into a rectangle…
Like the core of my own brain.
When my crimes were revealed, and she saw the unraveled yarn mountains, of course, she’d make me wind them all back up into a ball and that was okay because I knew what was inside them. I was patient by nature and enjoyed the raveling up process as much as I did the unraveling.
Communication is like that. I dissect word origins, research idioms and figures of speech, build word ladders to climb when dealing with various sorts of people and so often I’m unraveled by the tiring process.
Still trying to figure out why, to what purpose? Technique? Meaning? You get the idea.
But there’s a bit of a shift as of late. I’m taking some bitter on my salad, some lemon in my water. Like the missing W’s. I kind of prefer pondering the mystery and not really knowing the why. There’s a grace to knowing there’s an invisible tightrope under your feet, a circus under the surface and accepting that without having to know where the clowns remove their makeup and the scientific reasons why the lady grew a beard.
If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone you trusted, then you know the kind of soul searching I’m talking about. You question everything after that. Why? But eventually, I guess like Hadfield you try to shelf it and look at it from a different perspective and like Bono you just accept it.
What’s the alternative? Everyone’s life path is different. I’m always going to wonder why King Tut was enbalmed with an erection. Mummified with his penis at a 90 degree angle, but I mean, it’s okay if I never know. Some things we have to accept are beyond our understanding. Blind trust in the future is not easy for me. It’s daring. To dare to live despite betrayals? That is trust. Forgiving people? That’s a gift to ourselves.
Seinfeld was a show that was called “the show about nothing” but college students examine it to this day as part of the curriculum. My thoughts are kind of like that. They’re about nothing on the surface, but underneath is that cryptic question flowing, an undertow of sorts pulling eddying with questions….about the clowns or that search for the inner folded envelope with my grandmother’s writing on it.
That was cryptic I know. I don’t apologize.
Thanks for reading! I read a book recently (Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes) where she mentions as a child,
“picking berries from a cemetery that grew out of graves; that were baked into pies she then ate. We are all a part of the landscape. ”
We’re in it whether we accept that or not: together.
My newly designed book is almost ready to go up online. Change is scary but transformative too as change often is. My next blog I’m going to mention a few projects I’m excited about, maybe you can help with one of them.
LIKE this and then check out the links below
Chris Hadfield: https://www.youtube.com/user/ColChrisHadfield
Major Tom lyrics: http://www.metrolyrics.com/major-tom-lyrics-david-bowie.html