"Learning to live and living to learn"
Ahhhhh! Sunday morning! Don’t you just love Sundays? I like to get up just as the sun arises over the Kent Cobnut tress that line the bank of the river Medway, just beyond the boundary fence at the back of the house. I sit on the couch, eyes looking out through the window, like some over-nourished swami and listen to the birds chirping in the trees and the squirrels hoping from branch to branch, so reminiscent of Tom Cruise and his homies in Mission Impossible - the first film, not the subsequent iterations which were, lets face it, a tad unbelievable.
You see, Saturdays are for tying up those loose ends from strands of activity launched the previous week, replenishing the fridge and larder, cleaning the bathroom and, dancing the Dyson shuffle throughout the nest, an activity which, I might add, strikes fear into poor Lily, (the dog who must be adored). It seems to me that she thinks the Dyson is actually a real Dalek on a mission to “ex-ter-min-ate”.
But Sundays are for quiet contemplation, a time when you can relax and review the learnings to be extracted from the week gone by so that you can design the cranial agenda for the week ahead, which, if you are particularly process-minded, you will record on your handheld device while watching Songs of Praise on the BBC.
Now I make a modest living trying to help people successfully navigate life’s obstacle course on the path to self-actualization. Such work requires me to observe, analyze and explain the complexities of human behavior in the wider social system but often I find myself aghast at some of the behaviors I observe which leaves me with the question – “What on earth, is all that about?”
Let me give you an example, and as I do so, please keep in mind that it is the behavior, rather than the person, that leaves me befuddled. This is important since we must accept that the human being is susceptible to extremes, one of which is taking personal insult when no insult is intended. So, with that qualification stone securely laid, let me press my case.
“TATOOS!” What on earth, is all that about?” My dearest sister, who lives in the land of the lumberjack sent me a picture of her latest tattoo with obvious pride last week and, my youngest daughter, who lives in the land of, well, I’m unclear as to what Luxembourg is known for, so let’s skip the reference, would not look out of place, hanging on the wall in a Jackson Pollack exhibition.
If I relate such behavior to when I was a younger man with his finger on the pulse of the popular zeitgeist, (or so I thought), I recognize the desire to express one’s individuality, to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. In my time, it was bell-bottomed jeans and platform shoes from the women’s section of the local hyper-store which, I assure you, took courage and resulted in a well-deserved black-eye from my school chums on more than one occasion. But I achieved my objective. I attracted attention. I understand the need for that! And in the current age of the FaceTube, perhaps the desire to be noticed is a far more potent driver than times past.
But the issue I find so perplexing, with respect to Tattoos, is that everyone seems to have them. A leisurely stroll through the local county town is like wading through an inky morass of fractal-adorned skin but if everyone has tattoos, nobody stands out, since everybody looks the same.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, don’t get a tattoo and when you see someone resembling a motorway underpass covered in graffiti, I, for one, won’t be surprised if you ask: “What on earth, is all that about?”