Daily Archives: May 23, 2007

A proof in point

The title of my blog? Here is a proof in point. Tess Gerritsen delivered the commencement address at the University of Maine, and used some of the “creepy facts” she’s collected over the years to comment on life.

Like the Candiru fish, who will lodge in the urethra of the human male (ouch) if he happens to take a leak in the Amazon river. Here’s what she has to say about that:

“The second lesson the Candiru fish can teach us is this: Be careful where you take a piss. Don’t foul the water where you live. Don’t poison your workplace with gossip. I work in the publishing industry, and if I were to say nasty things about an editor or agent or another writer behind her back, you can pretty much bet she will eventually hear it. It’s the same for any other business out there. The people you piss on today will never forget it. And the chances are, you will meet them again.”

Another one, related to eating fried squirrel brains (a once delicacy in Kentucky):

“Be critical about what you consume from the media. Because what you put into your brain is as important as what you put into your mouths. Whether food or information, insist on the truth. Don’t swallow propaganda, even though it’s quick and easy to digest, the equivalent of those fast-food outlets we see on the highways. The truth is often a lot more complicated, but like real food, worthwhile food, in the end, it’s a lot more satisfying.”

But the most significant comment at all, based on a real woman (and not creepy at all, so she didn’t sustain her them ’til the end), Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, who changed careers several times in her life.

“But life can change, in ways you can’t predict. What you thought was a dream job turns out to be a daily ordeal. Or you get fired. Or your business collapses. You’ll wake up at age 30 or 40 or 50 (some of you parents may be going through this right now) and suddenly realize that you hate your job, and you desperately want to do something different. You want another chance. You want another life. I’m here to tell you that it’s not impossible.”

And I agree with her. In my life, I was a housecleaner, a telephone operator, a finance officer, a personnel officer, a human resources consultant, and a writer. Some of these, you’d say, are fairly incompatible. Yet, they all led me to who I am today, and I like what I see. Life is too short to do something you hate.

Thanks to dynastic_queen for pointing me to Gerritsen’s blog entry.

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