Who is the Walrus?

Who is this Walrus and why do I want to be here typing to the world?

So which way to work – backward or forward?

Forward is so staid – so backward it is.

Walrus … why did I pick the name Walrus?  Well – it was a nickname I was afflicted with by students of mine.  I know I already mentioned this, but some inquiring minds may ask what relevance barking and sub-aqueous ability is.  I was an assistant dive instructor.  I’m no 9lb weed like my father, and, yes, I had mustache and beard.  Full beard – I’m not a big fan of having bits of beard.  Not a big fan of scraping razor sharp slivers of metal over my face either.

Walrus face

Big, Whiskered. Barks, better in water than on land

Of course – it doesn’t hurt that I enjoy the song ….

Where was I?  Ohhh yes, so here was this fairly big guy barking instructions at them from the pool side.  Barking is necessary as it is hard to hear when you have mask, snorkel, hood on and sopping wet hair over your ears.

Then we hit the open water, 3 days on the Great Barrier Reef on a ship.  I would hang near the training group upside down so I could see them better and instruct them without my gear or their gear getting in the way.

I was called “The Walrus” behind my back.  So I disarmed it by adopting it.

If only all my traumatic past was that easy to deal with…

So, what’s with the sceptical, cynical, atheistic?

Well the atheistic is what I have been since I started.  Born to a mother who left judaism behind and a father who started as a protestant and had a penchant for buying into any cult sales pitch – when I left he was getting himself dug firmly into scientology.  (please note the religions are deliberately written without capitilisation, this is my way of indicating the lack of respect I have for these institutions.  The kind of respect that I might normally accord Bob, Stephen or Giselle for example)

Throughout my primary (elementary) schooling, which happened in a small parochial hick town.  No offense to the few friends I made there.  But the place was hyper religious and full of what one would call right wing hard liners.  I did not speak to many people about religion, and ended up unwittingly and unwillingly being influenced by my crack-pot sperm donor (accurate seeing as how many places he donated sperm based on how many times my mother had to be treated for STD’s after his return from work.)

So, this not so armchair crackpot who is an armchair psychologist held sway.  But I was still basically atheistic underneath it all.

Sceptic (or, for those in North America who had to have the language re-written to fit their failures to learn to spell, skeptic),  while many children dragged around much sucked on, chewed, damaged, demolished and abused copies of fantasy stories or fictional colouring books – my favorite books throughout my toddler and childhood were primerally science based, or even science text books.  I had a burning desire to understand how everything worked, why things were the way they were, coupled with a very acute and sensitive bullshit detector.  I knew the ‘just so’ stories were fantasies told to shut kids up.  I enjoyed the stories, but my only partly worn copy of ‘how the whale got it’s blowhole’ while enjoyable, was to me as fictional as Bugs Bunny.  I had a bazillion books on evolution, dinosaurs, biology, botany, ecology, mechanics, ‘how it’s made’ etc etc as a kid, and yes, I counted them, I had a bazillion (this, before the critical comments roll in, is what I call smartassery through exaggeration).  as a child I had no more idea of the actual concept of such a high number.  But as a teenager I quickly gained a concept of same.  Some of the first publishings of chaos theory were eagerly devoured, even if the math was way beyond my ken, the concepts were fascinating to me.

This is why it surprised me that my first attempt at reading Hawking’s “Breif History of Time” was abortive.

I have never been afraid to question things.  This is a penchant that lead me to be force-ably removed from what was at the time state mandated religious instruction (read here christian indoctrination).  The fact that rather than even listen to my questions and answer them, all that would happen is that I would have vague, non-sequitur platitudes thrown at me in the hope I would shut up and go away made me very disrespectful, distainful and bitter toward the religious establishment.  This is also the beginning of the cynical part of my explanation ….

Cynical, Ahhh cynicism, another of my few constant companions.  Cynicism is an emotion that I know all too well.  And in fact begin to feel uncomfortable if I have been without it for too long.  While I see the epic failures of the religious educators as the beginnings of this, I suspect there are deeper roots.  In grade 2 (about 7 years old), we were required to write a book review.  The book could be of our own choosing.  Being that I was about halfway through Issac Asimov’s ‘Foundation Trilogy’ at the time, and loving it like nothing else I had read yet I asked if I could review a triliogy.  The answer was no.  Ok, fair enough, I asked, was given a straight up answer.  so I accepted that, and reviewed one of the books as was suggested to me.  I don’t any longer remember which book I reviewed, but it was one of the trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation).  He had not asked that which book be vetted first so I hadn’t discussed my choice before hand.

After my assignment was marked and handed back – I was very dissapointed that I had been failed, and I took it to my mother, who read my review, even not having read the book she could see that my review was not failure worthy – the only possible grounds for failure was that it was not accurate to the book.  So we chased it up.  He hadn’t read the book, and couldn’t be bothered (pressing resulted in the admission that the book was beyond his capacity.)  So a 7 year old was failed on an assignment because his teacher was incapable of reading the book that the 7 year old read and reviewed.  Sound like a basis for a cynical outlook?  Maybe it was a beginning, or maybe it was a contributor.  However, enough self Freudian analysis.  My point is that as long as I can remember, I have been not only sceptical about the world around me, I have also been cynical about the world and the people in it.

Recent reinforcement for that ….  I worked as an AIN (in Canada they are called PSW) in a nursing home, and watched how staff treated and felt about residents. …. I worked with a SCUBA company  by the Great Barrier Reef in Tourism.  There was a lot of ignorant and arrogant people who get into tourism. …. I worked for almost 3 years in a call centre servicing mobile phone users and doing technical support from which I got fired for caring for my family members with health problems.  Long story, if you really want to hear it, let me know and I will see about doing a post about it.

So – that’s the basis of my handle, feel free to tell me how inane, mindless, stupid or questionable it is.  I probably won’t care, but it may just start an interesting discussion or a fun flame war ….


~ by scawalrus on October 26, 2011.

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