“Kishikaisei” is a Japanese phrase which is used when someone “recovers from a hopeless situation,” for example, in sports when a loosing side snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. Or like when a man meets not one, not two, but three Godzilla on the mean streets of Japan.
“It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely products of a deranged imagination.” ~Douglas Adams quotes (British comic Writer, 1952-2001)
“At different states in our lives, the signs of love may vary: dependence, attraction, contentment, worry, loyalty, grief, but at the heart, the source is always the same. Human beings have the rare capacity to connect with each other, against all odds.” ~Unknown (sourced from ThinkExist.com).
“WATO.” ~A former Skipper in the Naval Aviation Training Command. WATO stands for “What Are The Odds,” implying that things will happen if you keep pushing or testing them, even against the longest odds.
Although some of my friends may consider me a product of their deranged imagination – and you know who you are, I try and keep the schizophrenics in my life to a bare minimum. Mr. Adams makes an interesting and humorous point, but being a former “math-lete” from high school and college, his underlying assumptions are flawed. Technically speaking, his stated quotient tends towards zero as a limit since there is, in fact, a finite number of worlds, but it is not zero. Whew. Dodged a bullet with that whole imagination thing and actually existing and all….
I do math, therefore I am.
Oh, and nerds need love too.
As those of you who have been following my blogs may recall that one of my most cherished pieces of prose is the “Desiderata.” It has played in central elements of my life for the last two decades now, from helping me through a painful divorce, to being the keystone of a recent memorial I penned for a departed friend, to forming the basis for my wedding vows with Jody. I have even nicknamed my wife “Desi-D” in acknowledgement of the very meaning of the singular desideratum in Latin: Desired Thing.
The ability of humans to connect is quite amazing, no matter the odds. Famous, timeless books, award-wining movies, the most popular songs, and the greatest emotional poetry all find some common root in at least facing, but usually overcoming all odds. What makes The Notebook so damn good? Love against all odds! Okay, I’m a former mathlete who likes chick-flicks, and yes, I do own the movie. This notion remains quite congruent with the very nature of Desiderata, which expounds that “…no doubt the universe is unfolding how it should.” One would think in this age of massive information overload shared in mere instants anywhere across the globe, that unlikely connections would be less likely to occur. That they happen at all should amaze and inspire each of us to contemplate the very nature of our personal lives. We all live the greatest stories and star in the most profound roles. We just have to see and embrace our parts.
Jody was in training this morning at the Hospital here on Okinawa where the safety briefings she was receiving included motorcycle safety. Why this subject is covered in such a broad-brush safety overview is beyond me; very few Americans ride motorcycles on Okinawa, thanks to the US military making it such a royal pain-in-the-ass thing to do. The opening slide of this particular section of the briefing contained a textual overlay and introduction to the subject, but had as its background, two photos. Turns out one of the photos is me (see below). On a motorcycle, in Okinawa, from 2005 just before I sold my bike and moved back to the states. What are the odds?
I have had a keychain since either 1999 or 2000 that I purchased in Okinawa my first time stationed here, but have never used…until now. Someway, somehow, out of all the things I’ve moved (4 complete relocations since that tour: Japan-Miami-Japan-Pensacola-Jody’s), the stuff lost in my divorce, and those items trashed, sold, or given away over the last 13+ years, this thing has not only survived, but it resurfaced in this move to Japan after being completely forgotten about and stashed away.
I probably didn’t use this back in the day as my kids were younger and my ex-wife was psychotically jealous, even of such an icon. I really don’t know why I picked this particular image at the time, although I am a total fan of pinups and their associated fashion from bygone eras, and remain a lover of hats on women. Plus, the Japanese anime quality of the image is so iconic for anyone who’s spent any amount of time in the wonderful and weird country. And, without being too chauvinistic, what man doesn’t like the notion of a nurse taking care of him? No disrespect to nurses or the nursing profession, mind you. At the time, there was no nurse or nursing in my life. But there is now. In fact, I often introduce my wife as “…the prettiest nurse in the Navy,” something she no longer embarrasses over. And now this keychain serves, proudly, as the keeper of my keys here on Okinawa.
Now, if I could only get Jody to wear one of those hats….
And finally, just before we relocated to Okinawa, Jody’s command was throwing a formal military event called a “Dinning Out.” This event, as a military function, required of course the males to wear uniforms; traditionally for evening formals, females in uniform are given the option of even gown or dress uniform, much to my happiness. The formal uniforms, generally called “Mess Dress,” are not often worn, and usually those that just frantically purchased them have many questions and concerns about how to wear one properly. When Jody’s coworkers were googling “Navy officer mess dress,” guess what comes up as one of the top results? See below…. Don’t ask me why they weren’t reading the Navy’s uniform regulations. Google is way too full of bad gouge….
These connections which appear from time-to-time in our lives, much too often to be attributable to mere chance, are a tangible illustration that we are not that far removed from one another as we may seem. It hints, strongly given the long odds of such occurrences at all, that there is more to the universe than simply matter and energy. That while all of its systems large and small may continually tend to disorder (the Law of Entropy, more correctly the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – remember, I am a nerd), it is in such uniquely human connections that we can start to find order in the chaos, and we can take some measure of comfort that the universe is, indeed, unfolding how it should.
What are the odds? Indeed. Sometimes they don’t matter.