Tuesday 27 August 2013

Is Karma real? It bloody was that day.

Karma is  powerful force up here in the Rainbow Region, but I constantly have to ask myself if I truly believe in it.
As a hard-nosed scientist I was trained to only believe in things that could be measured empirically.
And I'm sure that you, like me, really hope it exists when someone does you wrong and you want the bad person in question to get their come-uppance from a vengeful cosmos, but I think that's the wrong (negative) way to think about it.
You're supposed to, as far as I can tell, drift about in haze of beautiful thoughts and seemingly, marijuana smoke, and good things will come to you.
But as I began tapping out the rhythm of this post I was still leaning toward it not existing, then, like a bolt from above I was suddenly reminded of an incident that proved, to me anyway, karma is real.
It was the most embarassing thing that ever happened to me sober, and there was a crowd of nearly as hundred to see it.
I'll get to that at the end, but first a little about climate.
It gets cold here in Byron Bay.
Sorry for the bad pic, but it is
the therm in my tent showing
5 degrees celsius.
Nothing like the old home town of Bathurst, but cold enough for me.
People up here constantly remark on my inability to handle the cold, I am the first into long pants in Autumn, and the last to shed the jumper in spring.
Then when people find out where I grew up they say, "You should be used to the cold!".
Well, here's the thing, the reason I left Bathurst is 'cos I was always so bloody cold.
I went searching for a better place, somewhere warm, somewhere with surf, and of course, mainly, somewhere my parents weren't.
So when people give me the "you should be used to it" line, I always tell them the Polar bear joke, which explains things better than I can.
A polar bear cub goes up to his mother and says, "mum, do we have any Black bear in our family?"
His mother says, "no".
The cub then says, "well have we any brown bear in our family?"
His mother once more says, "no".
So the cub goes on to ask, "Grizzly?"
And his mother says, "no, we have none of them, we're pure polar bear. Why do you ask?"
And the cub says, "'cos I'm trying to find out why I'm always so bloody cold".
Which reminds me of a story I read about a psychiatrist employed by the US military at the start of the second world war.
The top brass wanted him to find out under which climactic conditions each soldier would operate best.
Polar boy-shirt off
to shave at five degrees.
So he assessed them by unit and they were sent to various parts of the world to serve, some to the burning deserts of North Africa, some to steamy tropical jungles and others to the frozen wastes of Europe in winter.
The campaign was a successful one with the soldiers operating well in their various locales.
So at the end of the war the psychiatrist was called in the Washington to recieve an award.
As the general was handing him his medal he asked the psychiatrist how he did it, "did he use psychometric testing?", or "perhaps an exercise program under stress with body temperatures carefully measured?"
"What was your secret?", the general asked.
The psychiatrist replied, "when they came in to see me I asked them if they wanted to go somewhere hot or somewhere cold."
Occam's razor, all right.
And I must admit I kind of made the mistake when I moved here of thinking that Byron had a temperature in the mid-thirties all year round. 
But Wednesday this week I had that fantasy categorically smashed when I made the mistake of reading my thermometer at 7am and learning it was five degrees.
It was cold, but I was half wondering if I was seeing things, or worse if I had, rumpelstiltzkin-like woken up in Bathurst.
This is an occasional nightmare I have these days, I know many of you reading this blog love the old home town, but I for reasons stated don't, so suddenly to be living there again doesn't make for restful sleep.
And speaking of nightmares, well odd dreams at least, something I often dream these days is that I am drinking again.
Even in my dream I say to myself, "Oh, am I drinking again? That's odd."
I suppose it's only to be expected, a lifetime on the jungle juice does lead to a long lead time to get off it, but I find it particularly annoying to be reminded of the pleasures of a cold glass of Chardonnay whilst getting my eight hours.
But then I wake up and realise, thankfully, it was all a dream, and my therapist Paula, and doctor Mark can relax again and I am not showing up to see them red-faced and shaking-handed for therapy or my latest appointment respectively.
So leading back to the opening stanza about karma through a sign I
saw at the library which truly goes down as a genuine "Only-in-Byron" moment.
The library held a colouring competition and the winner was: Akira-Tygar Chee.
When I first read the sign I thought that Akira-Tygar Chee was a form of drawing, but as I read closer I realised that it was indeed the name of the winner.
Now you can name your kids what you like, but I wish some would not lade their kids with years of name calling.
Speaking of, when I was at uni there was a vet student called 'Everard Cock', I was going to say it doesn't get better than that, but on the same list was 'Hugh Cumber', which is not as rude but made me laugh.
And so to the best joke I know on bad names.
I guy walks into the local council office and says, "I want to change my name. Is this the right place to do it?"
The council worker behind the desk says, "Yes, here are the forms, what is your name?"
The guy says, "Bill Bumwiper".
The council staffer replies, "oh, well, I'm not surprised you want to change that, what do you want to change to?"
To which Bill says, "Fred Bumwiper".
Additionally, a bit of housekeeping.
A few posts ago I wrote about naming of various places in Australia, and one of those places was Bland Shire in NSW, well on the radio this morn I heard that in an enterprising piece of work by the local tourist promotions department, Bland Shire is hoping to twin, or triplet, with Dull, Scotland and Boring in the USA.
And so finally to Karma.
As usual the Simpsons put it best.
One episode Homer gets Apu, the Kwikimart owner, fired due to the sale of expired products.
Apu goes through some soulsearching and his previous anger at Homer for getting him fired turns around and he goes to the Simpson home to apologise.
Homer answers the door and gets confused during the conversation and says, "you're selling what now?"
Apu replies, "I am only selling the concept of karmic realignment."
To which Homer says, "you can't sell that, karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos", and shuts the door.
Apu, left alone of Homer's doorstep looks down at his feet and says, "he's got me there".

And so to my experience of the karmic realignment.
My first job when I left high school was as a laboratory attendant in the science department at Charles Sturt University.
It was a great job, I was earning the staggering amount of $150 a week, compare that with my elder brother who was receiving $27 a week to play rugby league in country NSW.
One of the conditions of the job was that I did the course offered by the science department.
I was supposedly so that I learned what the students were doing in the labs that I had to set up, but in reality the science department were so desperate for students that one extra, by any means, was worth it.
So I began work and study and loved it.
By doing the course I got to know the students and began partying with them.
As a lab attendant I was the worst in the history of the human race.
I was lazy, disorganised and every second day of the week operating on three hours sleep from another party I attended till near dawn.
In effect I was a perfect choice for the public service.
One day I was walking past the Rafters bar and noticed a couple of female students sitting outside on the newly built, but not quite finished deck.
I decided to go over and be a big man.
These particular students had left their area of the lab a bit messy at the end of their last class and I'd had to clean it up.
So I went over and gave them the rounds of the kitchen in my loud carrying voice.
Even as I type this thirty years after the fact I shriek internally with embarrassment at my action and even my motives in thinking that this would impress anyone.
I came to the end of my tirade and with a final, "make sure you clean up every time and don't ever do it again", I turned on my heel to make a dramatic exit, put my foot down a hole left in the deck for shade trees to grow through and fell flat on my face.
The hundred or so students sitting on the deck eating lunch whom I had previously been "impressing" with my monstering of two female students then broke into a truly heart-felt and perfectly justified guffaw at me.
Boy did I deserve it.
So there you have it, karma is real and that day it was instantaneous.





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  2. Hahaha!!!! Akira-Tygar Cher is my son!!! His name means where heaven meets earth and leader, it's a combination of Chinese, garlic and Japanese culture, it's very important name for an amazing person. We both had laugh at your post, and to be frank karma is put your foot in right intentions and always your right paths will open to you!!! For record Akira-tygar has no issue with name calling, I however with the name 'summer' have been teased all my life!!! Byron is fun place hopefully has taught you to be more open minded?? As for drawing I'm an artists and I love your comment hahaha