I recently posted with the subject heading “I shouldn’t be alive…”
It was meant to be funny, based on the TV show of the same name. Granted, most of the people who appear in that show have real stories that back up the claim…while mine, though real, was not necessarily life-threatening.
It got me to thinking, though, writing that post, about what our culture promotes. What types of stories we tell one another.
The stories on the show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” are usually very grim. And the ones I’ve seen have all been stories about survival occurring due to luck or chance.
That’s a different mentality than the story of a person who survives because they know how to.
In Wade Davis’ TED talk he tells the story an Inuit man named Olayek told him. Olayek’s grandfather was not interested in relocating to the settlement the Canadian government was trying to put the Inuit on. The family were worried for the grandfather’s life. They were afraid that the Canadian government might try to force him to move. If the grandfather rebelled violently, they might kill him. So they did the only thing they could think to do – they took away all of his belongings. Wade tells the rest as follows:
“The Inuit did not fear the cold, they took advantage of it…so, this man’ts grandfather was not intimidated by the arctic night or the blizzard that was blowing, he simply slipped outside, pulled down his sealskin trousers, and defecated into his hand. And as the feces began to freeze, he shaped it into the form of a blade. He put a string of saliva on the end of the shit-knife, and as it finally froze solid, he butchered a dog with it. He skinned the dog and improvised a harness. Took the ribcage of the dog and improvised a sled. Harnessed up an adjacent dog, and disappeared over the ice floes, shit knife in belt. Talk about getting by with nothing.”
Now that’s ingenuity!
One of my most favorite “playful thinkers” of all time is Bugs Bunny. That rabbit always plays. Every other episode featuring Bugs starts off with him singing a carefree song.
When trouble comes around, it’s no worry. It’s a game. Some of the funniest scenes are where it actually gets serious, and Bugs hightails it out of there! You don’t see cartoons like that nowadays…at least, I haven’t. Everything’s loaded with seriousness or innuendo. No ingenious characters, who approach every problem with a light heart, and the power of their quick wit.
As Wade Davis points out, what changes people, and in turn, what changes societies, are the stories they tell to themselves, or to one another.
What stories are you telling yourself, and those around you?
What stories are you being told?
What story do you want to tell or be told?