“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Hard to argue with, isn’t it? I think so, so I stopped trying.
But not after decades of doing what I had always done, which was work for other people, at the place of their choosing, when they said so, doing what they needed, not what I wanted. Guess I’m a a slow learner.
Now, I look back on those years and try to glean the good times from the bad, which is easy for there were many good times: getting my first promotion and raise, gaining responsibility and authority, being tasked with creating measurable improvements in the bottom line, developing an esprit de corps with my team – and chasing the dream. It’s a noble undertaking. It just didn’t happen.
I threw a pity party for myself and no one came. I’m not surprised. No one likes a whiner, nor should they. This country was founded against great odds, and we all carry the fruit of our forebears. If a ragtag gaggle of colonial militia could stand up against the greatest global military force on Earth – the British Empire, upon which the sun never set – then I could summon the mettle to move on. And I did.
It’s frightening. There’s no safety net. No one to catch me if I fall.
But fear is a tremendous motivator, one of the best. I can only imagine what some of the world’s great engineers felt as they laid their plans for bridges and dams, tall buildings and subway systems. What if they failed? What if they underestimated the load that needed to be carried, and things fell apart? What if…?
I’m guessing they didn’t really worry about “what ifs”, at least not to the point of being turned from their purpose. They weren’t persuaded by the nay-sayers, who I’m sure were numerous and loud, throwing their rotten vegetables from the cheap seats, laughing at what they didn’t know.
No, I’m guessing that the folks who dallied forth in building a better mousetrap must have been compelled by the hecklers, and found a way to make soup from those vegetables – then sold it back to them in new wrappings. Why not? Everyone likes soup.
I’m guessing that there’s something inherent in us all that’s willing to walk against the current, and not lift both our feet at once. There has to be, or we might well be walking around in animal skins and grunting at one another.
So, why am I going on about this? On the internet? To strangers? Or – much worse – to no one? Am I screaming into the maw of an empty theater? Probably, but I’m putting it out there nonetheless. Out of my mind and into the ether.
Call it a germ. Or, better, a seed. I’m planting it in my mind and, if you’re still here, you are a witness. Just like the first Cro-Magnon who observed a rock tumble down a hillside and thought of the wheel. Or similar to the the first human who saw lightning strike a tree and discovered a new warmth in fire. How about the first person to behold the power of hydraulic force in a rushing river and envisioned a gristmill to grind wheat and make flour for bread? A little dramatic? Perhaps, but this is the internet, and I can’t feel the rotten vegetables. No soup for you!
I want to tumble into the maw, and I’d like to take you with me if you’re game. This is an experimental attempt at this sort of thing, this internet writing thing. Is it a blog? I don’t know. I know more about history than technology, and I’m old enough to remember JFK’s funeral procession (although I don’t remember anything else for a long time after that.) [My mother grabbed me from my activities when I was three and made me watch the procession in front of a black and white television with transistors. She said, “You need to see this. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life.” She was right. I do. I remember seeing a boy my age in a pea coat saluting the horse-drawn caisson pulling a flag-draped casket through a crowd of people crying, and the woman wearing a veil over her face, standing strong. I remember it vividly.]
So let’s take this journey, together, into the maw. I hope we can find some common ground, and that we’ll be richer because of it. Not money rich, but rich in connecting with one another, in this anonymous age of the World Wide Web. I want to connect with you, even if I can’t see you. I want to believe you are there. I’ll play upon this keyboard and let the words out. The words that flow like a river from my mind, and always have. I can no longer stifle them at my post.