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Who We Are & Who We Can Be Pt. 2

 

 

Last month Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc across the eastern seaboard of the United States.  Despite days of advance warning and round-the-clock news coverage, the majority of people living in areas that would be afflicted chose to stay in their homes.

When interviewed about “why they stayed”, no one claimed to have been uninformed about the immense hurricane bearing down on them.  Each of them offered their own excuse for refusing to evacuate:

“Newscasters always exaggerate.”

“I’ve been in a hurricane before.”

“I didn’t want anyone to loot my house.”

If these excuses sound eerily familiar, it’s because they are echoes of the statements made by many who stayed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

It seems as if there’s no way to get people to behave responsibly in the face of impending disaster.

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Who We Are & Who We Can Be Pt.1

When I was seven I was caught shoplifting

I had been enjoying some unsupervised free-time in the toy department when I decided that I’d help myself to some Star Wars figurines.

This wasn’t the first time I had stolen something.

There wasn’t a high degree of difficulty involved because someone else had already opened the packaging. I simply waited until I was alone in the aisle and then placed three of the toys in pocket of my windbreaker. I walked out the door, got in the car, and headed home to enjoy the results of my inter-galactic crime spree.

I enjoyed them for about 2 hours.

When my mother found me playing with the toys, she asked me where I had gotten them. I knew that I needed to say that I had taken them from the store, but I didn’t tell her that.

I told her that “I found them”.

She didn’t believe me.

I was taken to see my father.

I told him that they were “given to me” by a stranger.

He didn’t believe me.

I was taken to see the retail manager.

I told him that I had stolen them.

He believed me.

If you know me well you’ve heard this story and how it turned me from a life of theft, but I want to point out that it took a significant amount of work by many people to turn the tide of rebelliousness and burglary in my life.

I had a proclivity for theft and no desire to turn from it.

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Changing Colors

I almost stepped on a lizard yesterday.  I didn’t mean to, I just didn’t see him.  I’m usually pretty good at spotting wildlife, I mean if there’s like an elephant or a tiger someplace, I’m often one of the first to identify it… especially if there is a placard right next to the cage.

I didn’t see the lizard because he was the same color as the sidewalk I was traveling on.

What’s interesting is that as soon as he squirted across the pediment, he changed color upon getting to the grass.  He changed color again when he “matched” the wall that he ran up to escape my oppression.

While the fact that lizards can change color isn’t headline news zoologically speaking, it did get me thinking.  I wondered if the lizard knows that it’s changing color?

When the lizard is green, does it know it?

More importantly, does the lizard actively “work” to change his color, or does he “automatically reflect” the color he’s standing over?  Does he have to think about it before doing it, or does is just happen while he’s walking around?

While I’m certain that there is a Wiki entry someplace in need of my perusal, and a scientist’s correction, I realized that it doesn’t really matter whether or not the lizard is aware, makes a specific effort, or even understands the physical change that takes place in his life: he just has to let it happen.

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