references and extra information
SUCH IS LIFE
In my alternative Bible, on the eighth day God awoke and said I feel
really refreshed so let’s crack on with universal things.
How about The Law of Unexpected
Consequences? That’ll keep ’em on
their toes when they’re making decisions.
Also, I’ve thought of Brussel Sprouts, and See That They Are
And as there was no one to say Bad Idea, we live with both today.
Down the millennia, they’ve converged.
The Guardian in late January told me that cognitive neuroscientists at
Oxford have found what seems to be the brain area that helps people
identify whether they’ve made bad decisions.
It’s called the lateral front pole and is “about the size and
shape of a large Brussel sprout”. We
have two, above and behind each eyebrow.
Monkeys don’t. (Where that
leaves gibbons is anyone’s guess).
The lead researcher said: "It might seem a bit pointless, but one
of the ways to do something effectively is to monitor the other ways you
could be doing something. People who have a bigger signal in this area
are better at switching tack.”
Well I don’t need a sprout to tell me I’ve made a bad decision.
My family’s good at that. And anyway, the Law can work both ways.
Here are two favourite examples
of good if unexpected outcomes.
A teacher colleague previously worked for Shell.
In the big snow of 1962, he sent their magazine a fun photo of
his three children manning a sledge on which sat a can of paraffin with
the Shell name prominent. A
few weeks later came a formal letter, on these lines.
“Your photograph has raised great concerns.
It shows an unauthorised and unlicensed vehicle being used for
the transportation of flammable liquid.
In addition, the labour appears to be non-union – and under age.
As a warning to everyone, we are printing this photo in the next
magazine. And thanks.”
And at King Edward’s School in Birmingham, our new Head Porter arrived.
The Chief Master introduced him to pupils in Big School.
A former Regimental Sergeant Major in the Coldstream Guards, he
was short, with a fierce moustache, and a don’t-mess-with-me-manner (one
a bit like that of a new medical director during the first week in the
“My name is Allard”, he bristled. “MISTER Allard.”
We cringed, and peered out from behind frightened fingers.
“MISTER Allard. And I wish
to be known as such. WHAT IS MY NAME?”
Numb with terror, sprouts suppressed, we shouted back: “SUCH!”.
A few seconds’ terrible silence.
No one in Big School expected what followed.
The biggest gust of laughter you can image from our new chum with
his new name and warm heart. Thereafter
it was always a beaming “Good morning, Mr Gibbons.”
“Good morning, Such.” We
All Saw That It Was Good.
And on the ninth day? God
said: “Brocolli! Also: Adam
could do with some bones. Let’s
go funny and call one a humerus, eh?”
Now you know. Trust me on