How the heck is it already Thursday again? Time, stop moving so fast, please.
Several things happened recently that seem connected and that require discussion.
Over the weekend, A(short for his real name), a person fairly close to me died. He was a boss, a mentor, and a friend. He died of an awful complication to a horrible disease and he wasn’t even fifty. His fire, his spirit, his zest for life, and his attention to detail in all aspects of his work and life marked him as special. He could make people cry easily with his brutal honesty, but rarely did so. He could use his force of personality to command the attention of a room full of people, and then use his sometimes surprising humor to set them all at ease before laying out whatever impossible, time-critical task we had to somehow finish this time. He worked hard, played hard, and found joy in life. It was much too soon to lose such a bright star. I miss him.
I have also joined an informal German class last week. Most of the members of this group are women and mothers (it meets at 10 am, what do you expect?). One of them is a 61 year old grandmother from Morocco. I had no idea she was that old until we did an exercise yesterday where we all said our ages out loud. We also learned that she married at 14, had her first child at 15, raised 7 children and now has 20 grandchildren. By most accounts, a successful life. She, however, due to the culture she was raised in, never learned to read and write. So she is now. At 61. In a second language. With joy and anticipation.
The message I am taking from these things is that:
1) It is NEVER too late to start.
2) But you have to start TODAY because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
So go out and do it now. That thing that you always meant to do. It’s time. Don’t wait.
And of course, an image for TBT. This one is remotely connected to A.
The stalwart researchers on a month-long bio-physical interactions cruise off the coast of Barbados, 1996. This is where I learned the salp joke. That’s me, 4th from the left.
It’s sort of a funny story. So, I’m not particularly good at telling jokes. I tend to drag them out too long, I don’t judge my audience well, etc. One of my favorite jokes is about hyperiid amphipods. It goes like this:
“How many hyperiid amphipods does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
“None! They screw in salps!”
…and that’s the joke. Which only a very small subset of marine biologists even gets. So telling it to a room full of systems engineers is fairly high on the futility meter. A thought the room’s reaction (blank stares, dead silence) was so hilarious that whenever he was feeling down, he’d ask me to tell him the salp joke again, usually in front of an unsuspecting engineer, just so he could watch the reaction again. The telling got better every time. A, this one’s for you. I hope it makes you smile even now.