Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inexplicable Instructions and Flow Charts

Jan Fogy seems to be in charge.

"for arrow on"
"off arrow on"
"no arrow off"

I personally have seen charts and instructions and computer bluescreen requests and toy assembly instructions and video cameras and workplace handbooks that have made less sense than the above.  I love the rectangle with the arrows every which way towards the top right.  It reminds of those little icons you see on computers and gadgets and stuff that you don't really know what means.

Here is one from N.  It's a little more straightforward.


"No taking the menus home.  No going into the kitchen.  Try to be clean."

I have seen forty page employee manuals that basically just said this.  Seriously, that covers about everything:  Don't take our stuff, keep out of the Chef's way, and keep it clean in every way.  That's all you really need to know.

Do you remember that old children's song, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream?"  I've always thought that everything I ever needed to know was in that little song.  Think about it.

It's "Row, row, row your boat," not one, but three rows there.  Life is hard work and takes not a double effort but a triple effort. Also, it says your boat.  Man, is that good advice (which I personally have trouble heeding).  Row, row, row your own damn boat and stay away from trying to right the boats around you.  They already have a captain and a bilge pump, they'll be fine.

"Gently down the stream."  Two things here.  Gently, yes, gently.  It's a ginger planet and the souls around us are fragile, the minds we shape are vulnerable and the hearts so breakable so, in all things we must be gentle.  And remember, don't ask too much of yourself.  Row down  the stream, it's so much nicer and it's easier to stay on course if you're not forcing yourself into the oncoming rapids and twisting eddies we face in an upstream battle.

And finally, "Merrily" four times.   Four times!  Do this thing festively, happily, the people in the other boats are watching.  "Life is but a dream."  I could spend a lifetime and never come up with word so simple and poetic.

So, whether obfuscated or simple, life's instructions are everywhere.  We just need to recognize them.  And a good place to look is in the hearts and through the eyes of our children.

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