IT’S FUNNY how things that are completely unrelated are sometimes actually closely related. A most obscure key can unlock a door in the mind holding memories you hadn’t entertained in years, even decades.
On Wednesday morning I was making myself a sandwich and suddenly my mind was flooded, completely overwhelmed with some very specific childhood memories.
It would be around this time of the year, sort of mid-December when we, the children, would start anticipating our year-end trip to the river resort just outside the city. The sheer amount and variety of fun things we did at the resort would colour our conversations during the entire first term back at school.
I tried to figure out why the simple act of making a sandwich would bring on such a cascade of memories and then it suddenly occurred to me.
I was using Tabasco sauce on my sarmie.
I had first tasted Tabasco at the Langleg Resort, and it had almost ended my life. Just one drop on the chop I had on my plate was enough to make it feel as if I had dipped my tongue into molten lava. I left my food, smoke billowing from my ears, face the colour of an overripe tomato, and ran to the bungalow to gulp down gallons of water.
It took ages for the sensation to return to my tongue. However, I had learned one simple lesson … stay away from the chilli sauce, that’s for the adults.
But on Wednesday the Tabasco bottle was almost empty, so I decided to empty the contents onto my sandwich and ate the sandwich with relish, enjoying the vinegary bite of the sauce – it’s amazing how a few decades can temper the heat of something that was once unbearable.
I guess that if you are exposed to things long enough, in small doses, you can get used to almost anything. I do, however, doubt that I could get used to this ‘new normal’ to which we are being asked to adapt.
I keep wondering, what will Christmas be like this year? Will there be another lockdown? How will certain industries then cope during what is – in financial terms – usually a very lucrative period?
Then again, I dream of living in a more disciplined society where people would not have engaged in reckless and inconsiderate behaviour. I mean, what would this festive season have been like if we had been more disciplined over the last few weeks?
It’s not all doom and gloom though. January is coming and along with it the resolution train that so many people board on the first, and end up disembarking by the 12th. And the funny thing about resolutions, though many folk don’t even bother with it any more, is that it – the ability to change – rests on a scientific premise.
When one decides to give up a bad habit and replace it with a good habit, the brain actually responds, and rewires itself to accommodate the new behaviour.
Over time, if we keep at it, the old habit patterns get weaker and weaker and eventually you will have created a whole new you. They even have a name for it … neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to reshape itself.
But it also works in the opposite direction as I found out recently when I started sketching again. I hadn’t picked up a pencil in almost three decades and when I tried to sketch a week ago I was appalled. It turns out that my skills had been dulled – neuroplasticity had adapted my brain to keyboards and smartphone screens.
However, though I suck at sketching now, I still love it and I am getting a jump on my 2022 resolutions. I am planning to spend a few minutes each day restoring the old skillset.
Maybe others can try something themselves … like learning to park properly. Increasingly there are drivers who park across two parking bays in mall parking lots. Comedian Larry David calls such people ‘pig-parkers’ – Mr David pulls no punches.
Others could try to stop littering. Please, I say it again, dropping your litter everywhere as a benevolent exercise to ‘create jobs’ is stupid. Larry David would probably call that ‘pig-logic’.
Another thing I personally hope to achieve from next year is to be a bit more courteous in traffic. This will be a real challenge, because there is an oversupply of ‘pig-drivers’, also known as ‘road-hogs’ around. We really have to retrain ourselves how to actually drive – driving is not knowing how to operate a vehicle.
If we could at least start working on killing off these three ‘character-pigs’ we would have made a pretty good start to 2022. It could surprise us how a few months of good behaviour could change some things that were once unbearable. Would that not be nice?
But now for something totally unrelated.
I recently read a story about a town where a big manufacturer suddenly packed up and moved their operation causing almost everyone in the town to lose their jobs.
An entrepreneur heard about this situation. Joseph P Klanta was operating several manufacturing operations and his sales of cutting equipment was growing rapidly, in fact he could not keep up with the demand for his products.
Joseph met with the town commissioners and discussed using the closed plant in the town for his expansion. After several weeks of discussion, Joseph was able to work out a suitable deal, which would allow him to hire all of the workers who lost their jobs
He figured that he could catch up with orders for table, circular, jig and reciprocating saws in time to get them shipped by Christmas.
The commissioners held a meeting in the town hall to announce the good news. When the workers heard the news, in unison, they all exclaimed with glee, “Klanta Saws is coming to town.”
Merry Christmas all – maybe I should rather work on killing off my ‘piggy-humour’.