Sometimes your best is not good enough. Just yesterday, I decided to do something that I had been putting off for quite a while. I went to an eye doctor that a friend of mine had recommended and ended up having a not-so-good day. It soon became apparent that this so-called eye doctor was not what he said he was. He wasn’t an eye doctor at all; he was an eyes doctor – big difference for me. A wasted trip, I was beginning to fear. I made a few mildly pointed remarks and suggestions to this so-called eye doctor. Before he could micro-aggression me, I hopped down off the oversized exam chair (don’t ask me how), and right then and there busted into some yoga, every pose I could think of to calm down. Fortunately I had brought my mat. Well, my composure regained, I went ahead and had them fit me with glasses the best they could. One look into the mirror convinced me that the very stylish, almost urban, hip, chic, suave, retro, new age look more than offset any ocular problems that seemed to persist. When confronted with the stark choice between functionality and beauty, always choose beauty. I did, and look at me.
Most of us wear more than one hat at a time. It can sometimes get tricky to pull it off with the apparent ease I am demonstrating in this picture. It might look easy, but it ain’t. Of course, if I had more heads, I could wear even more hats. Now I know that most of you have only one cranium, so I won’t go on and on with this particular wishful thinking exercise. Often we are in situations where we must be both strong and vulnerable, or busy but not too busy. Helpful but not enabling, compassionate but not a door mat, smart and stupid, politically aware and engaged but not depressed or apathetic, tech gadget user and people person, health conscious but not annoying, a carnivore and a vegan, Metallica and Mozart, Ying and Yang. I think you get the picture. Balance can sometimes be hard to achieve and maintain. Scott Fitzgerald waxed poetic and wrote the following: “This selfishness is not only part of me, it is the most living part. It is somehow transcending rather than by avoiding that selfishness, that I can bring poise and balance into life.” Poise and balance, two hats I will strive to wear.
I know that everybody doesn’t have six arms, but I do. “Six arms? Why six arms?” you might ask. Well, thanks for asking. I have six arms so that I can bring you six flowers, six pieces of fruit, six delectable Swiss chocolates, six slices of pizza, six of your favorite songs, six real letters in the mailbox, six days of perfect weather, six candy bars, six bottles of wine, a six-handed massage, six pieces of pie, tickles in six places, six days and nights with you-know-who, six slices of cheesecake, and six days of vacation wherever you want to go. That’s why.
Why am I in this beautiful Japanese tea cup? Where is this cup from, and how was it made? What the heck do you, I, and this cup have in common? All wonderful questions, dear reader. Let me endeavor to satisfy your well-placed curiosity. This cup is from Bizen in central Japan, a place that has been home to making sublime pottery since the 14th century. The clay is dug out of the ground right there, mixed and formed into cups and other vessels, fired in a wood-burning kiln in a lengthy process, which takes two weeks from start to finish. During the firing, the ash from the wood slowly deposits on the super heated pottery, leaving a unique pattern on each piece. So that is what Bizen pottery and I have in common: we both are handmade and utterly unique. As are you. We three have something in common.
Have you ever received a present, unexpected and perfect? I once did. I got this wonderful green beanie for the holidays from my daughter Madeline. Handmade from the softest yarn, crocheted to perfection. This beanie fits like a dream and is warm and stylish, Also, the green color goes perfectly with my skin tone. I never even saw her crocheting it, sneaky devil she is. This gift warmed my heart and still does.
Without fail, every Sunday I go for a walk up into the mountains, mostly in the Northern portion of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is a picture of me cooling off in a shallow spot in the North Fork of the Yuba River, after a long hike on the Liliput trail with my friend Julia . I’m pretty much a nature lover; I feel good when I am out in it. If you can’t get out into nature as often as you like or need, you have an invitation from me to come along on my Sunday walks. You will not be disappointed. I might not look it, but besides being a nature freak, I am fairly active on various social media. Check me out at theblogginnoggin.com or, for an even more in depth look at where I go every Sunday and some of that beautiful nature stuff, follow my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/geonoggin/
Soul mate? I don’t know. Don’t know if I believe in that. I do believe in good friends, even best friends. Friends that can make you laugh, pick you up, make you smile. Friends you haven’t seen in a while. Friends on Facebook and other social media that you might not even have met. Yet. My friend here is a good one. He shares his cool acorn hat with me, making us both happy. Often it is that simple. Friends are a pretty good thing to have, whether you need and want a bunch of ‘em or if a few good ones will do.
People sometimes ask me, “Where did you come from?” To answer that most important question, here is one of my baby pictures. That is me with my sister when we were babies. My mom said we are both an extra beautiful shade of green because of the color of our shells. Pretty cool, huh? My mom says we used to be real cute. I guess she was right. You were probably real cute too when you were little. That’s just how it is.
I posed for this picture with two of my good friends to help illustrate the fact that not all pears are the same. Just like you, we are mostly the same, but still different, unique, and individual. Sometimes very much so. I’ve noticed that things seem to go better when we allow for and even expect differences–celebrate them even, if you feel so inclined. As the recent Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Bob Dylan wrote, “I ain’t looking for you to be like me, see like me, or pee like me. All I really want to do, is baby be friends with you.” You might think this line from a live version of “All I Really Want to Do” to be slightly funny at best or perhaps sophomoric or void of any significant meaning. To me and my other pear friends, such is not the case. These lyrics, simply and with small words, illustrate a profound truth: that you don’t have to be the same as someone to appreciate them.
By way of introduction, my name is Carl. I am the first, the original Noggin, made many years ago out of left over concrete, grout, and rock. I was fashioned into who I am today from things that used to be something else. Reused, repurposed, and recycled, kind of like you. If you, dear reader, are a homo sapien, a human being, you also are made of things that were once something else and somewhere else. The trace amounts of heavy metals in your body were once part of violent collisions, collapses, and explosions of long forgotten stars. The calcium in your bones and teeth used to be somewhere else, doing something else. The organic molecules and water in your body and brain similarly did not always reside where they presently do. Like me, you are reused, repurposed, and recycled. Like me, you are also trying to keep it real. (I hope).