Hello World, Let Me Present …

I love cards.  I love to give them and receive them.  One of my favorites features a group of penguins perched on a large parcel of iceberg real estate.  All are sporting the tuxedos of their birth.  But look closely and there in the middle, surrounded by Antarctic class, is a penguin who waddles to his own beat.  It’s sporting a very bright red and white, polka dot bowtie.  On the inside of the card it reads, “How come no one here thinks I’m funny?”

I’ve loved this card from the day I set eyes on it.  I’ve purchased it in bulk and distributed it frequently during my first year of employment at UVa.  This image resonated with me not because no one here thinks I’m funny.  Quite the contrary and very much so.  It resonates because the bow tied penguin stands in a huddle and yet knows somehow it stands apart.  Being different is a balancing act.  Unique but yet not so much so that one is parted.  I wear that bowtie daily sometimes more aware than others of its presence around my neck.  And I think often of that penguin when navigating the iceberg that is my life.

I don’t much care anymore what is normal or even funny.  What I care about is whether or not the bowtie fits.  I care because sometimes we become so attached to who we were that we fail to recognize who we have become.  And in holding onto the past, we no longer honor the person we are in the present.  Today, I’m taking off the bowtie and putting on an ascot.  Hello, world, let me present …

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