Drinking from the Firehose…

…and Other True Cliches…

I shouldn’t be writing a blog today. I’m having one of those weeks.  I thought I was done with being overbooked, since I sledgehammered off the corporate shackles from my old middle-management life, but that was a silly idea. As human beings, we can never eliminate stress from our lives entirely. Besides, it’s good for me. If I can make it through the week.

the proverbal drink from firehose
From Pinterest

When I first started teaching, the temporary, part-time gig was enticing. A handful of classes, a manageable load of students, and material that I could master. Juggling a schedule with multiple classes has turned out to be less easy. Classes get cancelled; students don’t show up and then too many show up; the door is locked. Stuff happens, like in any job.

This particular summer session, I was minding my own business with one class, and an opportunity came up late last week to teach a new subject–one I’m trained to do but hadn’t prepared yet. Not at all. In fact, I thought I’d read the material since I’d started bugging the higher-ups to give me the new class last February, but it turns out I hadn’t even read it. Then, I was offered a session, last minute, no other teachers available. Late Friday, for a class the following Monday and Wednesday evenings (for three weeks, 18 hours of material total). Oh, it’s all good fun until somebody loses an eye! Isn’t that what we used to jest?…in fact, we used to say a lot of things that have been running through my mind.

What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

These cliches went swirling through my head all weekend, hour after hour, as I crammed through the books and teacher’s guides and teacher’s videos until my head was full to bursting. The thing is, the sayings are true. Biologically speaking, humans develop antibodies when they catch a virus. As long as we can fight off the disease, we get stronger.  If I prove to myself I can take on this arduous task, by the time I’m done, I’ll have learned a new thing and mastered the universe ! Ha Ha! As long as… is an important part of that equation. Monday night, after a long bleary-eyed day of staring at guide notes and writing on the whiteboard, I felt a sore throat coming on. Too much lecturing? Or catching a cold? I had laryngitis once when I was teaching. Not fun. I’ve been walking around with a bottle of ice water for three days now.

Which of the following statements are sufficient to answer the question: 1, 2, Both, Neither or Either?
If x3<x, then is x>x2?
1)  X > -5
2) X < -2

I Get by with a Little Help…

Another true cliche I learned is to ask for help. Connect with people. Vent a little to your friends. (Thank you friends, for listening to me kvetch and asking how it’s going!) Ask your boss for special favors, Can I expense the parking? When you’re given a difficult task, try not to be too stiff-upper-lipped about it. As long as you do the work, take advantage of empathy. As you get older, the opportunities to really test yourself diminish. So do the opportunities to learn how helpful other people can be. It’s a good reminder that we are here for each other. And, next time, when they ask you for help or sympathy, you can be particularly appreciative of what they’re going through. It’s why we don’t all live in caves.

McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking.
McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.
McCroskey: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
–from the movie Airplane


The Doing Will Show You How

My brother gave me this quote, acquired from his nibbling at the edges of Buddhism. I used to tell it to my staff whenever I would hand them a giant new assignment. When I took on a new role, I would write it in block letters on a post-it note and stick it to my computer, until the anxiety started to decrease. Which sometimes could take months. One colleague who still keeps in touch told me he got a frighteningly-expanded new gig recently, but he just repeats it to himself, like the boss used to say, Do it to the How… The wording isn’t quite the same as the Zen koan, but the sentiment is there.

I don’t know what I am Doing. But I will Do it. And, by the end of the week, I’ll know How I Did it.

Zen cartoon
From Pinterest, http://harmonist.us


P.S. The answer to the math question is that Statement 2 is Sufficient. Did you get that right?

4 Replies to “Drinking from the Firehose…”

  1. I did so much of “sure I can do that” when I worked, but it always seemed to work out, after a sharp learning curve. “Come to Santa Fe in the morning and put some flowers in your hair” Most stressful thing in my day is whether or not to pull a few weeds.

  2. I gave up on maths long ago. I agree with the Doing show’s you how. If I stop and think to long about something, my head comes up with so many reasons why not to do it, that I never start.If I just start and hope for the best it usually works out OK. 🙂

    1. Well said! But also, while you are within your rights to give up on maths due yo lack of interest, you could do it… if for some reason you wanted to. As I have come to say, you just haven’t learned it yet! KAJMEISTER

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