Dear Inquisitive Stranger,
Who doesn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of an, “I told you so”?
Four small words that poke a barbed finger at our inadequacies whilst highlighting the speaker’s superpower of foresight. Based on the chill I experience when uttered in my direction, the phrase certainly holds a non-special place in my heart.
So it is with much un-delight that this unpalatable phrase is turned against me. But I deserve it.
Once upon a few years ago, I considered the I.T. crowd as the planet’s geeks. Outwardly, they seemed to hold the title with a quiet dignity which I now understand was the silent smugness of knowing one day I would be wholly reliant on their computer skills and black magic. What a nincompoop I was!
It transpires that an indoorsy, pallid face and keyboard-hunched posture are not just the I.T. squad’s uniform, for these are the very tools needed to understand the inner workings of the devious computer mind. Oh, that damnable computer device! Sent from the belching bowels of the earth to blight my day and swindle a swear word or 3 from my lips. Anyone who has overheard my rant at the screen will agree I switch to caps lock in no time.
Admittedly, I can’t survive this century without the IT overlord’s mainframe know-how, coding capabilities and electronic wizardry. My clothes will probably become tattered rags without them assisting this lady who can’t let go of Windows 2007. A mere blink in the direction of my frozen screen from the company IT guru trumps my Ctrl Alt Del proficiency. I vote we erect statues of these modern day gods.
So let this be a cautionary tale. Let’s have no more misunderstandings and “I told you so-es”.
Sat in ‘Better Comics’ flipping through a graphic novel about monsters, my thoughts turn to other misunderstandings, in particular the Great Misunderstanding of Godzilla. Now, here is a misconstrued character. Why has this guy got such a bad rep? Is he not the consequence of our meddling with the planet’s ecosystem? Surely then, we should be taking responsibility for, and not incriminating this nuclear fallout beast’s need for a suitable place to lay his eggs. Well, her eggs. Another embarrassing misunderstanding. Our hyperbole about her appearance had us sizing her up as the wrong gender.
Which goes to show – we should never make assumptions.
This only leads to misunderstanding and misfortune. Another famous green character understood this very well when he summarised:
Fear turn to anger, anger turns to hate, hate turns to suffering. Savvy Jedi master wisdom.
So if Yoda is right about suffering being traced back to fear, what can we do about it? If there was one take away point from the horror genre unit of my film studies elective, it is that humans fear what they don’t recognise.
Take a moment to digest this. You are only scared of what you don’t understand.
Dissect any on-screen monster that scared the bejesus out of you. What spurred your fear? If the beast does not resemble a familiar object or animal, we cannot predict it’s motivation or movements, allowing our dastardly imagination to fill in the blanks which is class A fear fertiliser.
Worst of the scare gang, are the partially revealed beasts that give us full license to fabricate a terror. Yet once presented with the entire picture, our understanding of the creature helps squash our jitters. Consider the terrifying Pennywise whose loitering in storm drains in a clown get-up is the reason none of us visit the circus anymore. Yet once he reveals his true form as a laughable crab which can be defeated by a child’s slingshot, you feel safe to play with paper boats in the rain again.
Let us also examine Audrey II, a human- devouring alien, that is actually just a pot plant with a rather dandy singing voice. Goonie Chunk, discovered Sloth just wanted a friend and a chocolate bar. The Pale Man is nowt without his eyeball hands and that prancing werewolf with the snazzy dance steps is just Michael Jackson in disguise.
Let’s apply this same practical wisdom to everything else that intimidates us. Understanding monsters, both personal and on screen, rinses them of the scare factor.
So my dear Stranger, take the time to understand a person, a culture, a situation, an algebraic formula. It will hold less menacing power once you have a grasp of what it is all about.
So on that note, it is time for a computer showdown. I shall face up to my fears of technology by learning to troubleshoot, as they say in the biz. Once I comprehend how to defeat the Spinning Rainbow Wheel of Doom, I shall laugh in the face of a frozen screen and wonder why I didn’t clear up this misunderstanding yonks ago.
Then you can tell me “I told you so”.
Peace, love and cha cha cha.
Better comics – better than mediocre comics
Hapjeong station, lines 2 and 6, exit 5
Hey! This letter was hidden inside a book in ‘Better Comics’ for a stranger to unexpectedly discover.
If you are that stranger, don’t be a stranger and get in touch!
Maybe you haven’t had any letters fall out of books on you recently but I would still enjoy hearing from you.