A simple way to be yourself and tell the future and the disappearance of Professor Brian Cox.
Recently one of my customers at the Admiral Storage Facility, who is, it seems, a regular reader of this blog, brought in a copy of a book with the rather amusing title: “How to be Yourself”.
It struck me as rather an interesting proposition since as far as I know, I am, and always have been, myself. The thought of me actually being someone else is simultaneously slightly worrying and genuinely exciting, although by and large it is an issue which I will probably resist.
The book turned out to be one of those tomes on self-actualisation – and perhaps a better title would have been, “How to make the most of the qualities you have been granted at birth” although I do recognise that my title lacks a little of the pizzazz that the actual title has.
I didn’t actually get to read the book but the whole episode reminded me of my experience a little while back on buying a Canon Pixma MP282 printer (as these things have a habit of doing). The instructions told me to remove the protective materials that the printer was wrapped in, but warned me in no uncertain terms that:
The tape and protective materials may differ in shape and position from what they actually are.
I was still pondering that one when another regular client presented me with a DVD which said on the box that it contained a set of exercises that would improve my poor memory, lack of concentration and emotional instability.
Now I’m not sure that my emotional state is any more or less stable than anyone else’s, but I did recently read that children who sing a lot in school tend to raise their IQ, while people who engage in surf boarding are significantly less likely to get dementia in later life. Which suggests that the most unlikely activities can have an impact on one’s life.
So being open to all possibilities I took a peek at the DVD and found that it contained a film of a man holding his left ear lobe with his right hand and his right ear lobe with his left hand and then doing squats over and over again.
Would that improve poor memory, lack of concentration and emotional instability? I am not too sure, but it certainly made me laugh a lot, and I have read that laughter can indeed do all sorts of good things in terms of mental well-being. People who genuinely laugh a lot, I am told, do have a more balanced vision of life, enjoy life more, live longer, are mentally and physically healthier than their non-laughing counter-parts, and tend to have more friends to boot.
And I am quite sure this approach to having a jolly good chuckle clearly doesn’t include cynically laughing at other people’s misfortunes, but rather reflects the life view of people who are laughing along with others at funny things.
Contemplating all this, I was struck by how very different such notions are from what I was taught in science at school. Not one of my teachers told me that I ought to laugh a lot – indeed I can well remember being told not to laugh on quite a few occasions.
That makes me conclude that schooling in my time involved stopping people having a balanced life. And I had the opportunity to check up on this while at a birthday party for a friend at the weekend. A dozen of us, having raised our glasses to the birthday boy, got into discussion about school days, and not one of us confessed to having enjoyed school life.
However I wonder if all that is changing, for this week I saw a press release that announced that thousands of schools had competed to win a “Big Bang” lesson from TV Scientist Professor Brian Cox OBE, Advanced Fellow of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester.
Reading on I saw that Professor Cox was “on a mission to turn one lucky school class into budding astrologers.”
That struck me as rather odd, since I have always thought that astrology (i.e. fortune telling via the stars) existed primarily to give economics forecasting a good name. The notion that Professor Cox and the University of Manchester are getting their collective hands dirty with such a dubious art (I can’t call it a science) is somewhat worrying – unless it is part of a new programme to make sure all school students have a jolly good laugh.
Mind you, my local Morrisons supermarket has recently been advertising two types of butter – one is “unsalted” and the other is “natural”. That suggests that “natural” now means “with added salt”, which is probably even more drôle than anything that Professor Cox and his visionary cronies are doing.
Unless all that stuff about gravitational waves and two giant black holes colliding with each other that we heard about recently actually means that time travel has now been invented and we can shuffled forwards and backwards in time to an era when unsalted meant “natural” and Professor Cox is Gypsy Rose Lee in a tent near the fairground.
Maybe that business of jumping up and down while holding one’s earlobes is not quite so crazy after all.
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Tel: 0800 810 1125