Stare at the Sun

When I was quite young I used to stare at the sun. No one told me not to. My eyes Would water and I’d cringe and squint while at the same time enjoying the multi colored transformations the sun would go through, like a squirming slinky winding it’s way toward me in many colors.

For those whom this fact greatly concerns, I will reveal that I don’t believe I ever stared at the sun for a very long period of time, and so I hope that I will not go blind sooner than anyone else. Or ever.

Later, at the Cahill School kindergarten, there came a day when each student was handed a simple line drawing of three rabbits in a meadow. These line drawings had no color to them, and we were instructed to color the rabbits in three colors, perhaps yellow, purple, and green. Or something.

I took a crayon and colored the first rabbit rather quickly, scribbling firmly in purple over and across every bit of the rabbit in a rapid, firm, and thorough back and forth motion. What remained probably appeared to anyone a pattern that looked like I’d try to completely “cross out” the innocent bunny, a sort of square and complete purple blotch that totally obliterated the rabbit.

I then completed the obliteration of the other two rabbit diagrams even more quickly, in the two other designated colors. “Well, all right.” I thought. “Simple enough, and it’s done, and done well, So, what’s next?”

I raised my hand to proudly indicate that I was the first one to finish the task, but when the teacher came to see my handiwork she immediately gasped and stared, looking with obvious dismay back and forth from the colored blotches to me, and then back again.

“Guy”, she said, “why did you do that?”

“What? Do what?” I asked, puzzled. She sat down with me, holding the page in her hand, and pointed at the rabbits, quite concerned.

“You’re supposed to stay inside of the lines, Guy. You’re supposed to color the rabbits carefully inside of the lines, each of them. Slowly and carefully.”

I really didn’t know what to say, at that point, and I can’t remember how I reacted. But I knew inside that from that point on, school was going to be a forum of deception for me, a process whereby I’d have to learn to humor people and to circumvent pedantic rules and processes.

I guess the long and short of it is that I really never did learn that lesson, to this day. I can get a lot done, and sometimes I can get some interesting and unique work done, but I’ve simply never been good at coloring inside of the lines, in any discipline. I don’t see why it’s so important. But a lot of people swear by it, so I humor them, and often even pretend to admire and envy their ability to do so.

But secretly, I have filed the obliterated blotches of colored, decimated, crayon-road-kill rabbits away in my mind’s log of personal triumphs.

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