Monday, May 3, 2010

You just can't predict

A few years ago, one of my former students got stuck in some horrible bulk-digital-media sweatshop, doing cold-call sales. I visited the office at one point, to buy something from him just to help his sales numbers even in a small way; the workplace was so horrible that to this day I'm surprised that there wasn't an exchange of gunfire inside the office on a daily basis. In addition to being in a workplace that radiated "incompatible with life itself," he was completely unsuited to cold-call sales. He hated working there. It was living hell.

One day, the company needed a package for one of their products designed. Somehow, the job fell to him. And for some reason... he loved it. He took to graphic design like a duck to water.

He went to a college where they didn't teach design. It didn't stop him, he kept it up on his own... and today, years later, because of his self-taught design abilities, he is the recipient of multiple grants (one of them a Fulbright) which have paid for, among other things, education and repeated international travel. One of his recent projects (in the UK) has been targeted towards increasing the health and happiness of senior citizens, and people working in HIV/AIDS-care (in this country) are noticing his work, and his ideas are changing the way they think about reaching out to their own community. His star is rising so fast, it's hard to keep your eyes on it.

And none of that would have happened, had he not gone through hell. He lived with something that was, on a good day, unbearably nasty; and yet, hiding within the "nasty" was something that created something wonderful--someting that is quite literally changing the world.

Well, something very nasty has happened to me, courtesy of whatever set off the MS. But something hiding within the nasty may very well be something wonderful, something that can change the world.

As my doctor tells me nearly every week: With neurological conditions, you just can't predict what will happen. Still...

A butterfly flaps its wings, and on the other side of the world, a mountain trembles.

But which mountain? You just can't predict...

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