Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Radical Ideas from Random Memories

Often, on an idle afternoon I am blindsided by a rogue memory or idea - like this present Tuesday.

Usually I promptly forget them. Today I was in the unusual situation of being able to record it [and later evaluate it for merit]. I'll propose it here instead and let you objectively think about it before I form any solid opinions. I think it will be good for me to see on paper too.

In grade 8 my English teacher was a woman named Mrs. Bertrand. One particular morning in late spring 2001 she mentioned Todd White. He had been a former pupil of hers. We awed.

On one hand it was cool and we could relate. Growing up in Ottawa, hockey rivalries were a way of life, particularly when the Leafs came to town. The 32 of us swept up in the fever of the season, the anecdote bestowed Mrs. Bertrand with an unusually high amount of adoring credibility. I think now, that we all felt a little cooler knowing she had taught someone who seemed so important at the time. More importantly, I think we pictured ourselves in the same situation as a young Mr. White, destined for success against the tyrant foes in blue. It was inspiring.
ASIDE: In reality the Leafs probably won the series.

The opposite palm presented an entirely more unfortunate and less obvious reality that I have ignored existence and exploration of until now. When I was in grade 8 the only professions I knew existed were teacher, doctor, lawyer and professional athlete. It wasn't hard to imagine myself as a hockey player. For a long time after that I wanted to be a doctor. The next bold idea I had was to be a dentist, hardly out of the mould (sorry Mom, I still think it's cool but not for me). I still don't know what exactly I want to do, but I'm doing stuff and I am confident that when I do find something I absolutely love I will know it and be happy to dwell on on such activity for awhile. I bet I'll be successful too.

For awhile everyone seems to want to go to a good university and get good grades so they can get a good job. I don't think this is for everyone though. Do not think that I am discrediting the value of a good education, in fact I deem it of extreme importance. That's why I would challenge our concept of a good education. My initial thoughts lead me to the conclusion it should be one that enables us as responsible global citizens driven to do the best for ourselves (d'uh I want to be rich as hell) and others.

Just like the medicine will soon be tailored to the genetic and proteomic profile of each individual, when it is feasible so too should education. Some might study books, some might get dirty with experience, some might travel the world and most will do a combination of the above and more. I think when this is encouraged people will better explore their strengths and significant leaps will be made in solving fundamental problems like the separation of profitability and social issues.

Maybe grade 8 is too early to make a good impression but that "take a kid to work day" in Ontario is incredulous, if you ask me. Someone could think of something better. A solution I haven't thought too much about but might propose, would be to find an incentive to bring former students back into the classroom 8-10 years later. So that kids could be made aware of what people actually do when they disappear after that awkward display of raw emotion that hallmarks the final end of year dance and the tumultuous four years known as high school. Alternatively you could just find a lot of internet job ads and bring them in but that would be way less fun.

I can appreciate that comparing a full time job to being an NHL player might be a lofty one. I think then though that I need to implore myself to treat it as such an engagement, with the hard work and focus that it deserves. The successes might some day be comparable, who knows?

I have a few postulations about why random memories are maintained but I don't yet know enough about neuro-"nonsensery" to draw any confounding compelling conclusions (there's that annoying letter C alliteration again, sorry about that).

Maybe next time I'll write only in elaborate rhyme scheme. Have fun with that.

UPDATE: I am eating a piece of toast and jam and the jam literally tastes like grass. Like I am chewing on blades of freshly cut jam. Welcome to Slovakia.

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