Back in 1912, a little newspaper article warned people about global warming. Per Snopes, the original story was written a year before this one.
The Kwan Um Zen school has this fun Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson story.
And I had never heard of the saying, “It’s easy to see a flea on the nose of a person one mile away, but very difficult to see an elephant standing on your own nose,” but it’s way too true, and I like it.
[From time to time I write little stories that have nothing to do with programming or technology; this is one of those stories. So, if you’re only here for the technology stuff, you’ll want to skip this one.]
I’m standing in the kitchen of a friend’s house at a Christmas party, making myself a drink while talking to a friend named Angie. This was nothing unusual; she and I were always talking about something. We became friends during our last year in high school, and we’ve been talking every since.
In retrospect it’s obvious that I have feelings for her, but I guess you could say that I didn’t appreciate her back then. After high school my ambition took me away to college, and then to a series of jobs in different states. By the time I decided to move back home, she was married and had two young children.
While we talked all the time, this kitchen conversation was unusual. I don’t remember how it started, but Angie did ask me about something I rarely talk about: my parents getting divorced in high school.
Some time ago I was at a party, and there was a woman there that I didn’t know, but I felt like I knew her. It was a strange feeling, kind of like deja vu, but it had nothing to do with this party, just the feeling that I knew this woman. Maybe I had seen somewhere before, but I couldn’t place it.
When that thought first came to me I was talking to some other people, so I shrugged it off for the time being. It was relatively early and I figured we’d meet soon enough. A little while later a trash can became full, so I took the bag out of the can and walked it to a garbage can outside by the detached garage. After I put the bag in the can outside I turned around, only to be startled to see the woman standing there.
“How do I know you,” she asked.
We were playing at our camp when my older brother — who was standing on higher ground than I — saw something in the distance. He stood upright, then perfectly still. After a few moments he turned to me in a look of panic I had never seen before, pointed in a direction opposite from where he was looking, and screamed, “Run! Run!” I was startled at his behavior but I knew that something was very wrong, so I ran. And I ran.
I ran as fast as I could, weaving through the brush and constantly changing my course as I was chased by a white man on a dark horse. I thought I might be close to safety when I darted through some bushes, but I ran right into a creek that was too wide to jump across. As I paused for a moment to decide how to continue, the white man shot me in the back.
In intense pain and sudden shock, I stumbled forward into the creek, bent over with one hand in the creek. As I attempted to stand up and regain my balance, I was shot in the back again. This time my body flew forward towards the opposite side of the creek. I tried to control my fall but could not, and my torso slammed against the land. The right side of my face was pressed against the ground, my eyes still open. My right arm was trapped under my body, my left arm was somewhere down my left side. My legs lay in the creek’s water.
The person who was Employee #2 at Pinterest (and then left) wrote a good article titled, Reflecting On My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company.
New book/story idea: Life is a bit of a game, and as a result you’re put in the vicinity of your soulmate. Not right next door per se, but somewhere within your range of life such that you will encounter this person, such as the friend of a friend, someone you work with, a person you run into at a store, etc. So the game is, out of all the people you meet as your life unfolds, can you identify your soulmate? And maybe as a secondary plot, how do you handle it if you get get close but make a mistake ... say you marry a person which creates circumstances that put you in the vicinity of your soulmate, and you later realize your mistake?
Back in the 90s I was a Unix admin on a NASA project. Rumor was there was going to be a 14% layoff. The next day my boss tells me to go to HR. I’m thinking, “Me???”
I get there, and they tell me they can’t print their Postscript layoff reports in landscape mode, ask if I can help. In the end I got a great Pico de Gallo recipe out of it. :)
One day during a speech Hakuin said, “They say there’s a pure land where everything is only mind, and that there’s a Buddha of light in your own body. Once that Buddha of light appears, mountains, rivers, earth, grass, trees, and forests suddenly glow with a great light. To see this, you have to look inside your own heart.”
An old innkeeper who had meditated for many years was sitting in the audience, and when she heard this, she felt a strange understanding of his words. She later told her family, “I feel that happiness is as near as my skin.” When she was awake and asleep she kept his words alive: “Inside your own heart. Trees shine with a great light.”
Some day I might write a book called, Random Conversations with Strangers While Aimlessly Wandering Around, and it will include stories like this:
Many years ago I walked into a favorite bakery in Alaska. Nobody was there, no customers or employees, so I took a few minutes to look over the cookies and donuts to decide what I wanted.
Finally a young woman came out of the back room. I knew from previous donut/cookie runs that she was born in Ohio, moved here about five years ago, was nineteen years old, and would be twenty in a few months. As she brought out a tray of something new, she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in.”
I replied it was no problem, it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted. We chatted for another minute or two and then she looked around and said, “Can I be honest with you?”