Thursday, December 16, 2010

Grabbing the bananas

Several good things happened today. I'll begin at the beginning.

Good Thing #1:

My mom emailed this to me after I told her that my future roommates and I signed a lease for a lovely townhouse this morning. I laughed out loud. And then I nearly teared up.

But then I began envisioning how I would decorate my new room, and I got so excited. We get the keys the day after Christmas.

(Yes, my mom calls me Devie-Doodle. You heard it here first.)

Good Thing #2:

(Please note that if I were the Punctuation Fairy, I would add a possessive apostrophe to this logo...)

This is happening. I was innocently browsing 2011 races by month, looking for a 10K to do at some point before I attempt a half marathon in June, when I thought, "Hey, I wonder if there are any races on my birthday!"

Lo and behold, this 15K (9.3-mile) race around Lake Union falls on the 24th anniversary of my screaming entrance into this world. (My poor mom, Mama Bird up there, was likely also screaming on that day, since she asked for the epidural just a tad too late. Oops! I plan to request my future epidural approximately nine months before I'm due to give birth. On the rocks, please.)

I ran into a snag while completing my registration for this race, because not only did the online form ask for my date of birth, it also asked, "How old will you be on May 21, 2011?" Ummm. Hmmm. I'll be 23 until about 1:30 p.m., then 24 for the rest of the day.

(The race starts at 7 a.m. I put 24 anyway.)

Good Thing #3:

Well, hello, Chris Guillebeau! This man, who is a massive source of inspiration and general awesomeness, visited the UW Bookstore this evening as part of The Art of Non-Conformity book tour. I'll have you know that he told me I was awesome and gave me a hug just as I finished chatting him up and he finished signing my book.

I'll also have you know that this was not the first time he told me I was awesome.

When I got back from the cruise, this note from Chris was waiting for me on the kitchen table:

I told you the man has a way with words! Inside the note, he wrote, "Devon— so glad you're coming to WDS! —Chris."

I thought this was pretty sweet, but I wondered about the stamp on the back of the envelope. What does this dude have against monkeys?

If I had his book more fresh in my mind, I would have remembered the monkey story he referenced in The Art of Non-Conformity, a story that I first read about in one of Dave Ramsey's books. Ramsey tells the story like this:

John Maxwell tells of a study done on monkeys. A group of monkeys were locked in a room with a pole at the center. Some luscious, ripe bananas were placed at the top of the pole. When a monkey would begin to climb the pole, the experimenters would knock him off with a blast of water from a fire hose. Each time a monkey would climb, off he would go, until all the monkeys had been knocked off repeatedly, thus learning that the climb was hopeless. The experimenters then observed that the other primates would pull down any monkey trying to climb. 
They replaced a single monkey with one who didn't know the system. As soon as the new guy tried to climb, the others would pull him down and punish him for trying. One by one, each monkey was replaced and the scene repeated until there were no monkeys left in the room that had experienced the fire hose. Still, none of the new guys were allowed to climb. The other monkeys pulled them down. Not one monkey in the room knew why, but none were allowed to get the bananas.

Chris uses this story to illustrate that people may try to bring you down if you attempt to live an unconventional life, just because they think everything should be done a certain conventional way (but can't really explain why). They'll get mad and punish you if you attempt to reach an amazing goal that they never believed was possible for themselves to achieve. I instantly realized the significance of the anti-monkey stamp when I read what Chris inscribed in my book:

Such a good day, and so much good stuff coming up. I hope y'all are ready to go out and grab the bananas, too.


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