Being the least important person in the room

Today I keep thinking of that saying, “It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice” since I keep encountering “importance”, which somehow led me to the two articles excerpted below. I suppose the relevance of the second quoted piece is fairly obvious as its title makes clear. I can’t recall how it led me to the first. But I loved disco and I admit it. Maybe it is because I am of French heritage? (which will make sense in a bit) What fabulous pageantry the 80s were, punctuated by the days when bars used free drink specials to get people into their bars and onto their dance floors. And I think I would love to visit Gambia so there perhaps is the rickety suspension bridge of relevance between the two writings I unearthed via google.

In one of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies she wrote that it was the things her mother used to say to her which were of utmost importance in her formation and one in particular caught my attention; “Whenever you walk into a room remember always that you are the least important person in that room”. Such words, that lineup. For we are all merely random physical manifestations of our forbears and we can’t take credit for winning some sort of physical or circumstantial pre-birth lottery in which we are born tall or beautiful or with metaphorical silver spoons in our mouths.

A philosophy professor in college once said that humility is the key to higher learning. She asserted that graduate students, for example, must assume the utmost of humble stances and beg their teachers to generously bestow upon them the knowledge they desperately sought. I didn’t quite grasp it at the time. In fact we had a laugh about it later over Discotinis during open bar and between such dancables as, “She blinded me with science” and “Loveshack”, mainly because we didn’t get it. It is human tendency to laugh at people and things we don’t understand but such hahas belie and broadcast our ignorance perhaps. Her words didn’t permeate the layers of makeup, glitter, shoulderpads and permed 80’s disco hair assembled atop my head in a plumatory homage to my delight in the affectations of the 80s. Today I ponder her words anew. Late bloomer? –perhaps. I full-disclosure that and raise it by admitting that I didn’t get the “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” assignment in ponderability either. I got an A in the class, perhaps for effort because I did try. I always try. I did much better in Symbolic Logic 101 because A plus B equals C made far more sense to my mindset, enough at least to poke through the Super Extra Hold Aquanet.

So- I have decided today is be nice day and not not not be important day, according to me. “Important” will from here on in be my code word for behavior which is unnice. And for me it is also cut and paste (nicely) day while I learn to use my new voice-to-text software which shall now replace my burning wrists. The next post should be hilariously, voice-to-text-ishly disjointed.

The Turf War Over a Dance Craze

French Entrepreneurs
Move to Cash In
On ‘Tecktonik’ Fever
April 11, 2008; Page W10

PARIS — More than three decades ago, French party-goers helped coin the word “disco” to describe a dance that would grow into a global craze. Few have given France credit for it. Today, disco is passé, and some French entrepreneurs are moving to capitalize on a new local dance phenomenon.

Tecktonik” is the word that scores of young clubbers across Europe use to describe a dance that is a mix of rave and breakdancing. Dancers sport mullets and 1980s muscle shirts. They practice moves such as “Le Brushing” or “Le Pot de Gel,” which mimic the motions of brushing and putting gel through hair. The dance has been spreading in clubs and through online videos on sites like YouTube, where dancers demonstrate the moves.

At one Tecktonik-themed nightclub party recently, music blared, and scores of young men and women tried to outshine each other on the dance floor. In one corner a hairdresser trimmed mullets. Nearby, party-goers had their photos taken with their new hairstyles.

[WSJ article]

“It’s Nice to Be Nice”–Daily Life in The Gambia

Africa » Gambia » Western Division » Serrekunda
February 22nd 2007 by Loora

A Street in Jeshwang
A Street in Jeshwang
Part of my route to get to school everyday

My title is one of Gambians’ favorite sayings. It’s true for them–they’re very friendly. Wherever I’m walking to, it’s guaranteed that at least 4 adults say “Hah-lo” or “How ah you?” as I walk past. It’s too much at first, but now I’m used to it. Some days it gets annoying, but it actually is nice to connect with people, especially the ones I walk past everyday. On the other hand, random guys come up to us and ask us how our holiday is, where we’re from, where we’re staying, what our name is. It’s best to have a made-up name and story ready for those ones… [post]

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