Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ice Ice, Baby

Icebreakers. For several years now I have been responsible for icebreakers at department meetings. I am the icebreaker king! Course, we all know each other so these aren’t getting to know you icebreakers, more like lighten the mood icebreakers. I decided it was time to act on an idea of mine to play the game Don't Break the Ice as an icebreaker. Clever, right? You know it! Around 30 people at a meeting. Say 8 tables with 4 people at each, so I needed 8 games.

I was at Target near my house and took a look at the games and found 2 Don't Break the Ice. Cool. I am thinking hit 3 or 4 more Targets or Wal-marts and I got my 8 games. Do you think you know where this going?

There are two Wal-marts close to me, to the north and south. I visit both. Zero games. I head down to the Target at Parker and the Tollway. Nothing. I scoot over to the Wal-mart at Coit and Bush Tollway. Nada. Do you think you know where this going?

At about this time you may be thinking to yourself, "Damn, Fro, just order the things online. This is the 21st friggin' century, dude!" You are entirely missing the point. It is about the quest! The task! The adventure! I am kicking it old school! I am not even going to let my fingers do the walking! What is your quest? I seek 8 Don’t Break the Ice games, gatekeeper!

Monday. A day off. Martin Luther King, Jr Day and all. Let the quest continue!!

I head up to the Target at El Dorado. Nothing. As I drive out to the Target at Custer and 121 I am beginning to entertain the notion that I can’t find 8 games locally. In which case I will certainly have to order the damn things, which pushes playing the games to a later meeting. If this Target is dry, I say, then I just might give up. A quitter. Quest failure.

The Target at Custer and 121 had 1 game! I am emboldened! I am energized! The quest continues! Targets and Wal-Marts dot Central Expressway north of the Bush Tollway. It can be done!

The very next Target, in North Allen, has 2 games. YES! And there is a Toys R Us in the area (I thought they were closing down stores.) However, the Toys R Us does not open for 25 minutes. I am not waiting around.

I go too far down Central Expressway and decide to cut over to the Target in the middle of Richardson. Along the way I pass a Wal-Mart. Nothing. And the Richardson Target? Nothing. I work my way back up Central, the Target at Parker. Score 1 game!

I keep heading back up Central, back towards the Toys R Us that opens at 10. I hit the Wal-Mart at Spring Creek. Zilch. I hit a Target in south Allen. Zilch.

Whatever Toys R Us has or doesn’t have, I am heading home afterward. The son and I are going to the movies at noon. I enter the Toys R Us. The game section is easy to find at Wal-Mart and Target. Just one aisle, or along one wall. But upon entering Toys R Us I know that things could be spread out. I do the unthinkable. I ask for help. The woman takes me to a section, similar games are there, the games I have found at each of the other stores (Cooties, Ants in the Pants, Don’t Spill the Beans). THERE IS NO DON’T BREAK THE ICE!! What? Toys R Us, you have let me down!!

Wait, she says. There will be more over here, she says. What? I say. Around the corner and down another aisle there are at least 10 Cooties games. The woman pulls them out, and hidden behind them are Don’t Break the Ice!. I grab two.

Final count:
  • 7 Targets yielded 6 games
  • 1 Toys R Us yielded 2 games
  • 5 Wal-marts yielded zero game. F you, Wal-mart!
  • Mission accomplished. Quest complete. Level up.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

First and Second Tattoo

Within 10 minutes of coming up with the idea for these two tattoos I wrote exactly the following:

On my right forearm I would get the knot, and on the left forearm the same rope but just straight. Ultimately they are about acceptance. Accepting myself for who and what I am, and accepting others for whoever and whatever they may be. In a sense the knot is No Agenda, and the straight rope is No Timeline. The knot is how we often perceive life: a knot that has to be tied or untied in order to feel ecstasy, or joy, bliss, or contentment. We make our lives complex and complicated. But experiencing ecstasy, joy, bliss, and contentment is simple, as long as you don't judge yourself or judge others. Just be. Live in the now. Accept. Don't tie knots, be the straight rope.

Five months ago in August I adopted the mantra No Agenda, No Timeline. There was a discussion involving expectations and since I believe anger, frustration, and depression derive from the difference between expectations and reality, I try not to have expectations. To convey this during the discussion I said no agenda, no timeline. Don't force it. Don't box yourself in with preconceived notions. Go with the dynamic. Let all of your relationships grow out of sharing over time. No Agenda, No Timeline.

In September I read a book called The Four Agreements. As a result I created four agreements with myself. Two of them are extensions of No Agenda, No Timeline.

  • I will recognize who someone is, what place they have in my life, accept them and their role in my life, treat them accordingly, and know that they might change and if so I will change my attitude with them.
  • I will make peace with who and what I am, know and understand what motivates me, and live within those motivations.

For several months I worked to ingrain these concepts into my life and into my being. It wasn't quick and easy. I had to keep reminding myself, keep working at it. I am still working at it, and still reminding myself. I probably always will be. For several months these concepts percolated.

A few weeks ago I was reading an article and this picture of knots was used as a graphic. The article was not about the knots, they were not even mentioned. I searched for the source of the image. Was it from a philosophy? Used to explain some concept or lesson? Seems to simply have been created by a graphic artist.

One week ago I was lying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, staring at the ceiling and contemplating life. All of these elements swirled together in my thoughts and the idea of the straight, untied rope in juxtaposition to the knotted rope floated into my mind. Symbols for my first and second tattoos.

We make knots in ourselves and our lives. We erroneously believe we have to untie knots in order to experience joy or contentment.

There is no knot.