Friday, 7 October 2011

A Philosopher, An Alarm Clock And Gusto: A Night Time Story

He may not have known this, but I was ecstatic and thrilled each time I had the privilege of walking into his philosophy class.  He was a very patient and brilliant man. Mr. From would teach us ever so succinctly on the thoughts of Descartes, Hume, Berkly, Hobbs and many other lovers of wisdom.  Do you ever sit and marvel at what you are seeing, hearing or feeling?  I had such a privilege. Thank you Mr. From for welcoming me into a greater world and teaching me about philosophy: I am a better business man for it.  Mr. From was prepared for each class. He gave us notes that we really did not follow, but it was helpful in that it outlined the logic of we did not get lost in Alpha Centarui land while  he argued (strictly from that philosophers perspective) experience cannot prove reality while I argued with him that a rock existed because I kicked it and hurt my toe.  I remember having nothing to come back with.  The freaking rock did not exist...oh, boy was I engaged! 
It was not all frills with Mr. From, for he was a hard man. We had these nasty things called assignments...where we had to write papers on what philosophers thought.  I scored very low on these.  Surprisingly that did not give me the downer. What gave me the downer was all the freaking red ink over my paper.  The tension inside of me was furious: thank you for telling me how to get better vs. you cruel man for telling me I'm wrong.  I swallowed a bitter pill knowing in the end I needed to receive his red-ink feedback in order to win in his class.  It got to the point where I eventually pleased him enough to get a A on a paper!!! Oh boy was that a great day. At the beginning of class 4 weeks from issuing the assignment,  Mr. From wanted a major paper submitted and feeding off the 'A' experience in his last class, I passionately worked to make this next paper my best submission yet!  I remember storing my cherished paper next to my Listerine bottle in my dorm room. Yep, that conceded little 20 year old college punk was me.  I remember removing that Listerine bottle off my paper (middle right side of pic) and trotting off to class to give Mr. From my best paper yet!

There was just 1 problem. My alarm did not go off! I was late for class!  I snatched my paper and violated all religious laws and skipped breakfast only to sprint over to my class and hark, I made it! The only snag was, I made it late.  I figured to do the sensible thing and give him my paper, after all, I worked  really hard on it!  With the entire class sitting down waiting for class to begin, I heard Mr. From say, "I said the beginning of class or you are late. I cannot accept this paper".  Being to chicken to make a scene, I opted to sit down. Flustered, I ignored his entire lesson only to devise a way to out wit him so that I could have my paper accepted and not get a '0'.  I had my logic down to a T and figured to speak to him when class was over.  I loaded my guns and fired off, "Mr. From, you must accept my paper because it's not my fault". "Oh, really" Mr. From said eager to learn. "Yep, you see I pay perfectly good money for the right to live in the dorm and you see, I expect certain services from the dorm, like regular electricity".  "That makes sense" Mr. From said.  "Ya, so when the college hires electricians to do after hours work that shuts the power off, my alarm clock goes with it!" Mr. From prompts me, "So...???" "So, I paid for a service and the electricians debunked my power causing my alarm clock to fail, it's their fault I was late for class and could not submit my paper at the beginning, and because you are a part of the same college and therefore same contract, you are responsible for acknowledging my lateness being a result of the colleges breach of contract".  I nailed him and was certain he would accept my best paper yet! Oh no! He spoke! "Ryan, you could have submitted this paper on time, your paper will not be received!".  "No way" I came back with, "How is it possibly my fault after what I said?"  He calmly suggested, "Well Ryan, could you have used a wind up clock that was not dependant on electricity? Could you have programed your body so that it would wake up at the same time every day such that alarm clock or not, you would have woken up and been on time? I dare think so!"  Crushed. He somehow nailed me.  I left bitter, inflamed and mad.  "What an abstract-a.hole" I horribly thought.  "Downright cruel." My best paper yet!  After I got over the perceived injustice (3 weeks later) I came to realize the most valuable lesson possible: I could have done more to hand that paper in on time! 12 years later, that lesson grew on me to the degree where I was absolutely convinced of it's value! What can I do to be a success?  Temporary failure, despite my emotion, pales in compassion to the value of learning that I am responsible for my success!  Mr. From, I humbly and gratefully would like to thank you for your investment in my career. You taught me not to whine, cry and whimper at my perceived injustice, but rather, to look inwards and realize how I could have done better.  You loved me and served me. I truly honor you and thank you for your choice to have mercy on my future, not my instant pleasure.  This is a major building block of my 'free market outlook', that I can be loved and taught all the while not being spoon fed.  I need to fight for answers and success.  Mr. From, it is no irony that you were teaching me about philosophy and reality all at once, you truly made the abstract practical.  Thank you.

Briercrest Faculty: Joel From
Tied for my best teacher ever, thank you for loving me.

1 comment:

Think of how you can make your point and be respectful.
Try to keep cursing to a minimum; with thanks.

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