Sunday, October 18, 2009

I’m Pretty Sure I Just had an Aneurism!

So very seldom in life do we appreciate how unique are our experiences.  We get into a rut, thinking that everything we do, think, eat, read, watch has been done before.  Or at least a lot of it.  Well, maybe you don’t, but I tend to do so, and I am always glad of it when something unexpected and novel reminds me that I am constantly experiencing the unique, it is just that I forget to pay attention. 

Earlier this week, I came across a perfect little reminder of just how unexpected life really is.  Before you look closely at the photo below, I am going to make a prediction about you that will be 100% accurate.  100%.  If you are honest, you will be forced to admit that without even knowing you, or at least without knowing you well at all, I have been able to tell you something about yourself.  Something undeniable.  And at the same time, I am going to prove that we will have shared a unique experience, one that every last one of us will be forced to admit was both singular AND  unpredictable.  How can I make this claim?  How can it be true in every case?

Start by examining this photo:

2009 Public Health prize demonstration

(photo by Alexey Eliseev and caption from Improbable Research)

I know that in looking at the photo, there is something odd that trips a little alarm in the brain, alerting us to possible funny business.  Who are these people and what are they doing?  To set the scene, allow me to tell you how I came across the photo.  On a message board I frequently read and occasionally pollute with my own posts, I was reading a discussion of the Nobel committee’s decision honoring President Obama with the Peace Prize for this year.  As was the case in the papers, at water coolers around the country and on the television news programs, opinions were mixed about the committee’s decision.  I commented on it in an earlier entry here at the Bully Pulpit (The Bully Pulpit  - Obama-wins-Nobel-peace-prize), and at the message board most of the posts expressed either surprise or gratification.  One of my favorite members of the board, known there by the handle Seagull, added a very simple post.  It contained a link to a website called Improbable Research, and it was there that I first saw the photo shown above.  I nearly skipped the caption of the photo  and simply moved on to the article, but something in my subconscious caught the oddness of the picture and made me take another look.

Seconds later I was laughing and wiping coffee off of my chin, and being reminded that  I don’t care how many of us there are on this planet, there is no way that anyone woke up the morning of October 11, 2009 and thought they would see this, or anything like this.  The photo at the top of the website linked by Seagull makes my all-time list of INWHGIWIWU events (I-never-would-have-guessed-it-when-I-woke-up).   No, no way someone woke up thinking, ‘uh, I foresee three - no four - Nobel Laureates, several women removing their bras, dividing them in two the women are giving everyone a cup to breathe through.’  Now take another close look at the photo and you will see that at the 2009 Nobel Prize ceremony, Public Health Prize winner Dr. Elena Bodnar demonstrates her invention — a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander. She is assisted by Nobel laureates Wolfgang Ketterle (left), Orhan Pamuk, and Paul Krugman (right).

Tell the truth, now, there is not a person among us that could possibly have awakened that morning thinking, ‘I bet I see four Nobel Prize winners at this year’s ceremony wearing bra cups on their faces to demonstrate a patent-pending invention meant to equip all (unliberated anyway) women with life-saving emergency equipment as well as life-enhancing comfort and support.’ So you see,our lives are not so very predictable at all. 

Insert gratuitous remarks HERE.   

Oh, and so what does the title have to do with the rest of this mess?  Well, think of it as a sort of Public Service Announcement to warn you not to do what I did.  Whether you have a mouthful of coffee or not, when you need to laugh, and laugh hard, DO NOT HOLD IT IN!  Nothing good will come of it, with results ranging from ruptured ear drum, to aneurism, to an (hopefully small) unintended deposit in the shorts, to, well…I think you get the idea. 

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
As always, the photos we use are either my own, or in the public domain. Please let me know if there are any errors and I'll correct them immediately.