high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm not advocating Ashton Kutcher or anything, but...

Gawd.  Last night I turned in my final MLHR project, and there are few things I can recall that I've been more happy to be done with.  After three years of skating by in grad school, it's like the MLHR program finally woke up and took on a life of its own, saying "Hey!  What are you doing here?  Rar rar rar rar!"  (That last part represents the MLHR program coming at me swinging its fists)  If the program was more rigorous, I would have been conditioned to this treatment from the beginning, but as it worked out, all the hard work was saved for the last quarter.  Rather than leaving the degree program with head held high, feeling proud of an accomplishment, I think I'll be leaving with a good-riddance middle finger raised.  And my frustration isn't with the program itself.  The blame for the dissatisfaction rests squarely on my shoulders.  I'm the one who chose to go through the program despite not having a burning interest (or much interest at all) in a long-term career in Human Resources.  I'm the one who subsequently chose to take shortcuts and easy routes through the program rather than choosing to become engaged in my classes and work hard.  I'm the one who went through the program with the singular goal of getting a Master's degree, not the goal of truly learning or developing myself all that much.  So maybe there is some benefit to this whole experience in the end after all: I probably won't make a similar bad choice again in the future.

Funny how things like a choice to enter a Master's program shape our lives.  Time spent in class or working on projects is time not spent on other activities.  It's hard to say when one activity is more beneficial than another in the long run because we can only see the results of the activity that was chosen.  While going through the MLHR program represents a "big" decision that had an impact on my daily activities over the course of several years, there are little decisions made every day.  Butterfly effect shit, you know?  It really wasn't that hard to get the project done this past week.  I just gave up exercising, cooking, and some amount of sleeping for the week.  Will those decisions have some long-term impact?  Maybe.

To take the focus off myself for a bit (reluctantly, to be sure), we can see other such "impactful decision" examples elsewhere.  A great example came up recently in a conversation with Divya and Nate.  We were discussing Oprah, and I was adamantly arguing that Oprah had been an African beauty queen, while they were telling me that this was not the case.  To settle the dispute we consulted The Wikipedia, and according to the rather lengthy article, Oprah was in fact a beauty queen, but in Mississippi, not Africa.  Now everyone knows that when you consult The Wikipedia to learn something, you end up learning at least five other things that you never intended to learn, which is kind of cool.  One thing we learned about Oprah, in addition to the fact that she was not a beauty queen in Africa, is that she was originally named Orpah, but some family member could not pronounce Orpah, instead pronouncing it Oprah, and that just ended up being her full-time name.

Fast forward a bunch of years.  Oprah's got this show now, called Oprah.  She's got a lot of bank.  She's kind of a big deal.  She's considered the most influential woman in the history of the world, just barely beating out Mary, Mother of Jesus.  Now consider: Would Orpah have a show?  Would the TV stations be advertising the Orpah Winfrey show every day?  Would women be basing all their life decisions on the advice of someone named Orpah?  Would Orpah outrank the Virgin?  Heeeeeeell naw.  I don't care if you are a Mississippi beauty queen, or even an African beauty queen for that matter.

Little things.  "Little" things.

In Oprah's case, we can see the results of those little things, even if we are making some assumptions about the cause-and-effect relationships.  But in most cases the outcomes don't even cross our minds.  We just live life without thinking about how our decisions or the decisions of others have a ripple effect. We can't, really, because nonstop pondering about the "what if's" would paralyze people from ever acting.  But just for fun, let's consider some scenarios...

Scenario 1: A couple weeks ago I received a call from a number I didn't recognize, so naturally I didn't answer the call.  To my surprise, the caller left a voicemail.  Upon listening to the voicemail, I discovered that the call had come from a vet's office (they had dialed the wrong number).  There have been multiple occasions like this, when someone calls to inform a client that some work is done that the client was expecting.  I've gotten voicemails about clothes that are ready to pick up, bikes being sold, and in this case, confirmation that Pixie and Cinnamon were scheduled for their appointments on Monday at 3:30.  Clearly the callers don't listen to the voicemail greeting, because I state my name in my voicemail greeting, and I think it's unlikely that the owner of Pixie and Cinnamon is also named Jay.

So what might be the results of this chance occurrence?  Perhaps Pixie and Cinnamon's owner was awaiting that appointment confirmation, and having not received the call believed that she did not get the appointment, and therefore searched for a different animal hospital where Pixie and Cinnamon could be seen.  Upon finding an alternative animal hospital, an appointment is scheduled, Pixie and Cinnamon's owner shows up on the scheduled day, meets another pet owner in the lobby (let's pretend it's the owner of some fine animals named Stogey and Mr. Jimbly), and the two pet owners fall madly in love.

It's not impossible, right?  They obviously have a shared interest in pets, and we've seen this type of thing happen before, specifically in the original animated 101 Dalmatians movie.  What, you're not buying this possibility?  Okay fine.  Pixie and Cinnamon's owner doesn't get the appointment confirmation, doesn't take the pets to the appointment, and as a result both Pixie and Cinnamon die of their respective diseases.  Happy now?

Scenario 2: Today I took my backpack to work because I packed my dress shoes and wore my boots to tromp through the snow.  Since I had my backpack with me, I put my lunch in one of the backpack pouches, as I've done many times before.  Today my lunch consisted of some spinach, cucumber, and salmon, all in a plastic container.  The salmon was a little wet because it was just out of a can, and apparently the seal on the plastic container wasn't the greatest because some of the salmon juice leaked out into the backpack pouch on the way to work.  I became aware of this fact upon reaching my office and thinking to myself "What is that horrendous smell?"  (This is never a good question to be asking when the answer you arrive at is "Hmm, that smell is coming from me.")  Believe me you - ain't nothing smells worse than leaked canned salmon juice.  Upon reaching home at the end of the day I threw my backpack in my laundry basket with the intent of washing it later.

I've never washed a backpack before, so I'm just assuming it can be done.  However, it's entirely possible that there's a well-known, common sense piece of knowledge unbeknownst to me that you simply don't wash a backpack in the washing machine.  The backpack completely comes apart, or becomes deformed, or morphs into some organic life form that then lives inside the washer, or something like that.  In any case, the backpack is utterly unusable after washing.  In this "what if" scenario my need for a backpack hasn't gone away, but I am now without a backpack, so I am forced to go to the local backpack store and procure myself a new one.  And lo and behold, I meet the charming salesgirl at the backpack store and we fall madly in love!!!  Haha!

Don't say it couldn't happen!

At this point I'm enthused enough about this idea that I think I'm going to search out a local backpack store and go looking for a backpack salesgirl, regardless of whether or not my current backpack makes it through the wash.

So there you have it, a little drivel to fuel your mental calisthenics for the day.  It remains to be seen what the long-term results of my MLHR degree will be.  Right now I'm just glad that the project is done and I can get back to some more productive use of my time, namely blogging :-)

To give myself a better chance at a good outcome, I'm going to take Stogey and Mr. Jimbly with me to the backpack store.

No comments:

Post a Comment