Happy New Year
The Remarkable Fools Journal Volume 1
I like things that come out in a series.
Today, I’m introducing a reader story as part of the Remarkable Fools Journal.
The next journal will come out in three months. July 1. Canada Day.
5 / 7 / 5 syllables.
The restrictions? Every haiku needs to have the word ‘hamburger’ in it.
Three of 17 already taken care of for you.
How hard can it be?
In a time when trust and attention are limited, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for showing up and reading the Foolsletter. It started as an outrageous idea. Now? I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t sending at the very least One Derful Thing your way.
I get outta bed for you.
This first is from Michael Florizone. Michael is a writer, film maker, arts educator, father and all around creative dude. This post originally appeared in Michael’s Blog: Thoughts of Michael.
The Big Red Button
Spring, 1994. University of Regina. Regina, Saskatchewan.
It was the time of year when Wascana Creek was rapidly melting away it’s man-made shores, and the sweet smell of prairie sludge filled the air. Students were packed into the computer lab like sardines, tapping at keyboards staring at monochrome screens, anxious to finish overdue papers.
It was, after all, the end of the semester.
And that smell! The giant fans whirring and humming, cooling large overheated central processing units, sucking out stale breath and filling lungs with hope. The hope of great scores for great work.
But I wasn’t there to do work. No! I was there to check my email!
Yes, in 1994 I had email. I would write my brother Richard, who was studying at MIT in Boston. It was the highlight of my day, and a great way to procrastinate. Since it was all Unix and text-based, I had to enter some kind of strange manual function.
iN%”firstname.lastname@example.org” to “email@example.com”
Richard was the only person in the world I got email from, and boy it must’ve been thrilling for him to get my email!
Hello Richard! How are you? I am good. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I’M WRITING AN ELECTRONIC EMAIL. I can’t believe you’re getting this message. It’s so cool. I send it here and you get it there? How??? I hope you are good. If you get this, please write back soon. Michael.
Simpler times and simpler actions.
I logged in and anxiously waited to see if Richard had written.
then waited some more…
He didn’t. Nada.
I logged out, deflated.
I stood up, pushed my chair in and walked toward the door, passing stressed out students hunched over keyboards with bugged eyes. Hours of work staring at flickering green screens.
I came into this lab often and one thing I always noticed on the wall next to the door was a big red button. The door was automated for those with mobility challenges, and I had never tried this feature before.
I always somehow assumed the button was connected to the automatic door.
Let’s just say…. I was..wrong.
Was it curiosity or plain stupidity?
Regardless of what you might call it, I learned something that day.
[insert sound of large, I mean giant, fans shutting down]
My life literally stopped.
Was this real?
Was I dreaming?
What had I done?!?
I turned my head away from the button and saw every single monochrome monitor go completely blank.
This wasn’t the worst part. The hardest part was hearing a COLLECTIVE GASP from a very large computer lab full of students, all at once. Like a well choreographed drama exercise!
Even more shocking was my response in the moment. I actually said this. To the lab of students.
“I just pressed the button.”
Yup, that’s what I said.
“I just pressed the big red button. I thought it was for the electric door.”
“I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!!”.
To this day I have no idea why I said I’d be right back. Would I magically be able to fix the problem? Would I run and tell the university president to expel me? Not likely.
Guess what I did?
I ran. I ran like hell. I ran down the hall so fast my heart was pumping in my ears. I couldn’t help but think—
I’m sooooo dead.
I’m gonna be in the university newspaper.
Oh my God, was I on camera??
I’m totally gonna be expelled.
After running the entire length of the university campus I ran into my friend Jessica.
She says, “Michael! Are you alright? Did something happen? You look stressed!”
I explained. Then explained some more. And after an hour of hyperventilating she was able to calm me down.
Then, I kept it to myself.
And didn’t hear a thing.
But eventually, it came time….
…time to, you know… check my email.
And that was the only lab I ever used.
I was curious. Could you blame me?
So I put on a hat, and pulled it down low.
I took a deep breath…
And went in.
The lab was about half-full this time, those big fans were up and running. The intensity of the room was not so intense any more.
I sat down and logged in.
And waited some more….
Nothing. No email.
Boy, was that a waste of energy!
I stood up, pushed my chair in and walked to the door. With some measurable paranoia in my eyes I glanced up and couldn’t help but see that big red button.
And right next to it was a very large new sign in bold lettering.
EMERGENCY KILL SWITCH. DO NOT TOUCH.
This time, I didn’t.
You can follow Michael and subscribe to his newsletter here
There will be more reader stories as we roll into the weekend.
One Derful Thing
How does the old saying go?
Rags to rags in three generations?
I think Timothy Eaton’s family may have experienced this in Canada.
Us? Seed to soil in three short blog posts.
We began as seeds.
We soaked up sunshine as plants.
Today we rot.
Focus on your exhalation.
At the end of your breath, push out just a little more air.
When you experience tension or perhaps some anxiousness, empty your lungs more.
Sink down like compost.
Imagine that you’re rotting.
Notice what happens.