In 2002, Grigori Perelman proved the world’s most notable topological theorem, the 100 year old puzzle known as Poincaré conjecture, soon thereafter giving up not only his job at the Stekloy Institute, but Mathematics altogether “finding the subject [Mathematics] too painful to discuss.” He forfeited $1 million in prize money and continued to live a life as a recluse in a roach-infested flat.
Decidedly, Dear Reader, there are some days it might have been better to just stay in bed if we could have only predicted the situations that would find us. In all honesty, I might as well be renamed Calamity Jane for some of the mishaps that seem to only happen to people like me and fellow CTG writer Cindy Stroup. On a bad day like this, I’d rather be at home playing the piano or tucked away underneath my favorite green blanket with a really good book.
Recently, I visited with my friends Erick and John over lunch at Mi Cocina. Knowing the good business etiquette for squeezing citrus, I cautiously cupped my hand around a lime to avoid spraying even a hint of lime juice on anyone. That was just before it accidentally propelled into my chicken and rice soup, dousing everyone at the table with the hot orange broth from head to toe. Everyone, but me, that is, in my solid white pantsuit. Not a drop. “Slippery little suckers,” I wanted to say. But my horror and their laughter became fodder for everyone’s lunch entertainment, except for the oblivious, uninhibited middle-aged couple making out in the booth next to us.
Then there was traffic court with Highland Village’s only Judge EVER, the Honorable Ronald D. Hurst. “Bless me Judge for I have sinned, my last traffic offense was twenty years ago. For these offenses and all the offenses of my life I am very sorry.” This is more or less what I wanted to say as I approached the bench to give my public account when he kindly asked, “Do you have anything to tell the Court?” Looking at the clock, I knew if I wanted to make my next appointment I would have to plead no contest rather than tell the long saga of the electrical problems in my Volvo that prevented me from renewing the inspection sticker in a more timely manner thereby earning myself a surprise invitation to city hall from Officer Roppolo in a school zone one morning. Bang went the gavel! Congratulating me for finally finding a solution to this problem, he continued, “That will be a fine of $168 payable to the Court within the next ten business days.” Darn. There went my iPhone upgrade, but it was just as well since I am completely out of duct tape.
Then there was the day I had a notion I could build my business by participating in the Flower Mound Chamber of Commerce Bowling Tournament. I cannot explain whence such a thought may have originated since the majority of my bowling expertise has been derived from playing Wii. I figured that I could score at least 150 like I do in golf and there was absolutely no chance of striking out!
After the first few gutter balls, I appealed to Larry of Stacy’s Furniture for some personal coaching. It was amazing! With his help I began to throw strike after strike. My teammates became concerned that this new-found success might jeopardize our bid for the coveted last place trophies. Larry’s good advice had to stop! Losing was our only chance of walking away with an award! When the results were announced, we had still scored less than The Gutter Gals and they must have been inwardly jealous as we accepted our bowling pins dressed like blond-haired geese with Groucho Marx disguises.
Now you don’t live on this earth for nearly forty years without developing a few notes to self. For instance, I already know that if I’m ever in a movie, I don’t want to be an “extra”. Only stars are offered properly-caffeinated coffee and fur wraps between scenes in cold weather. Also, I never intend to be a part of a scandal, but if so, leave the national media out of it. Third, after going to traffic court, I have realized the gravity of giving an account of my actions. The worst question I’ve ever heard in all my life is, “Do you have anything to tell the Court?” in a room full of strangers, albeit, their offenses no better than my own.
My latest note to self is a more noble one regarding entelechy; the art of becoming what God has already placed inside you as He exposes an unfurling blueprint, one not of our own design, on this journey of body, mind, spirit, and soul. I considered Plato’s Allegory of the Cave along with the realization that simple shadows perceived in the darkness, though real, are never the fully developed reality God has in store for our lives. As he matures us from darkness to light, the painful focus shift means that one can never look at those same shadows again without a lasting imprint and permanent alteration of mindset.
In 1939, George Bernard Dantzig, a doctoral candidate was late for class at University of California, Berkely, after having overslept.