Grey Matter
It's not all black or white
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Published on 05/05/2015 by Paul Conway

So the answer to last week’s brain teaser is that the man in question is a dwarf and he can’t reach the top buttons of the elevator.  If someone else is riding the elevator with him then he can ask for help and if it has been raining he can reach the buttons with the tip of his umbrella;

Oh come on! That’s not a real brain teaser that’s just a trick question.

Well maybe you’re right. But the puzzle still revolves around our assumptions for the word ‘man’.  What do we see in our mind when we say the word ‘man’…. Or ‘woman, work, holiday, drink, prize’ .. whatever the word we probably all have different pictures.

I had a picture of an elderly lady I know.  It went something like this … she is kind, extremely generous, a bit slow, always says yes, always agreeable to go along with other people’s plans, never likes a fuss, has no real opinions of her own.  Then a few months ago she fell ill and after several months in hospital she ended up having brain surgery to remove a tumour.  Serious stuff!

Now she is on the mend and back at home. She has also started to have what you might call more fight, more patate, more peche, more nitro in her rocket fuel.  She now has opinions of her own and when something doesn’t suit her, she says so.  She has stated to say No and she my assumptions about who she is have been given a bit of a shake.

So that set me thinking about what assumptions I have in my head about my self and what does that stop me doing? I had a naughty thought the other day and wondered what would be my kids’ reactions if one day they come home to find me with an ear pierced, smoking some weed and chilling to trance music.  But then I’m not ready yet to challenge my own assumptions about myself in that way … and anyway I have to go to work next day.  I think I will have to be a bit older before I can take the risks of changing who I am.  Poet Roger McGough must have had some similar ideas about the freedom from assumptions that comes with age when he wrote ….

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern (nightclub)
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one


Paul Conway

Paul Conway

Leadership Faculty

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