Story of the starfish.

4 07 2008

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.Tom Brokaw

Starfish 05 (paulshaffner).jpg

I was originally going to write about something else, but after reading through this incredible blog I just had to write about it. If you get anything out of my little blog, then it would be to go over there and read some incredible stories. It makes me feel very privileged and I should be very grateful to be in a part of the world where I do not fear for my life, when driving a car, or when living in my home or going to hospital. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are and how much for granted we take many things. I salute the owner of that blog and anyone else who is willing to stay in countries such as South Africa and try to do good for their country. Very brave and very noble. Never give up!

Which brings me to the next point. This is an excerpt (or a cut out, however you want to call it) from this one source of a scene (or a passage, again however you want to call it) that I thought I will share with everyone (anyone?) out there. I got the inspiration as I mentioned from reading the blog and in particular the latest post on that blog. The owner of that blog actually mentioned “the story of the starfish” and I think this is referring to the same/similar thing. 🙂 Hence enjoy: 


The balloon lands in a small open area, on the south beach of Cabeiri.  You get off and the balloon sails back into the sky.

The sand here gets very hot in the daytime. The beach | [ ] – [X]      
carries on to the west and to the southeast lay some    |           \ 
cliffs. There are several balloons here that will take     |             [ ]
you to different areas around this world. A beach        |
house is not too far from here either.                         |

There are three obvious exits:  house, west, and southeast.

The Balloon Keeper is here.

Balloon keeper says: Welcome to the balloon landing.  There is a sign here which lists the services available, I hope you enjoy the ride.


>”You go South East”

There is very little life here. The coast is rocky        | [ ]            
and the cold sea air blows harshly against your        |    \       
skin.                                                                 |     [X]


The only obvious exit is northwest.

A starfish is here.

>”You look at the starfish”

>”Suddenly from observing the starfish, you rember the story told many moons ago…”

A wise man was taking a sunrise walk along the beach.  In the distance he caught sight of a young man who seemed to be dancing along the wave. As he got closer he saw that the young man was picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean.

“What are you doing?” the wise man asked.
“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out; if I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
“But young man, there are miles and miles of beach with starfish along it.  You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The young man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves.
“It makes a difference for that one,” he replied.

>”After the reminiscing of the story you pick up the starfish”

The one starfish is in your hands.

“You know what to do with it”



Dad’s Wisdom #2: Smoking

20 04 2008

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.  – Mahatma Gandhi

“The doctors told me to quit for your sake; so I did” – My Dad

I was one year old. Obviously I remember very little of that time so it will be pointless to make random guesses from it. But I have been reminded countless times from older family friends and parents about how cute I was and all that sort of crap. I did all the standard things like attempt to walk and speak random words by imitating my parents, watch cartoons, clap my hands and cough and get sick.

My dad was a regular smoker by then. He had smoked for almost 20 years by the time I turned one (well he started from a young age) and it was the standard one pack a day routine. He smoked inside the house and didn’t really think much of it. He told me (when I was older) he never really thought of quitting and it was all natural of him to smoke. But then I got sick and kept on coughing. Possibly from an unrelated matter, possibly from all the second hand smoke, I don’t know to be honest. But they took me to the family doctor and the doctor did the standard things. So this family doc who has known my dad for a long time and has actually been telling my dad for a long time to quit smokingsaw the entire connection. There was a Peter Styvenson pack in my dads front shirt pocket and the doctor knew he had to make the move right now. It is either now, or there will never be another later.

“So your son has been coughing a lot lately I see” said the family doc.

“Yup” replied dad.

“Here are some antibiotics but there is also one thing I need you to do”

“What should I do?”

[Family doc gives long speech about second hand smoking, cancer and the importance of staying healthy]

“Done” said my dad.

So a few days after that my dad went cold turkey and stopped smoking. It is now about 20 years and he has not had a smoke since. Of course now he coughs his lungs out every morning or every time a bit of smoke enters the room (think of it as the miner’s canary) but apart from that he is doing OK. I mean that stuff is serious so there might be a case where something will happen down the track as he has smoked for so long before. But for the time being, we are staying positive and are hoping for the best.


*Tweep tweep*

So I (along with my other siblings) was fortunate enough to be brought up in a smoking free home. That should not automatically say we are super healthy as the air pollution is no different and that has been around since forever so we are not completely immune. But it is amazing what one person would do for someone. The willingness to sacrifice something when there is a serious effect to it. We do our assignments a few days before hand because there is a deadline. Oh who cares that we have 3 weeks to do them, the majority of people do it a few days before hand. Cause and effect. Superman became a avid supporter of stem cell research after he became paralyzed. Cause and effect. Prostitutes have sex to make money. Cause and effect again!

Dorothy Short as Mary Lane.png

I am so coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool. I come from cool town.

So now my dad talks to me every day about how important it is to never smoke (along with all these other vice’sbut more on those another time) and that it is one of the worst things you can do to yourself and your family blahblahblah.

I suppose I am lucky. Let me explain though… I am piss poor at willpower.Give me half the chance and I will smoke any number of cigs out there. I have been asked countless timesin high school to give it a try. Each time however I said no… Why? Not because I “hated the smell” or “smoking was not cool anymore” or “I do not conform” or any other awesome virtuous act that deserves my respect. Only because my dad told me and showed me his example of why it is bad and what he is willing to do to someone he loves (stop smokingfor my health). So down the track, when I have a bunch of kiddies on my own (omg how cheesy, but look at the blocks of cheese in the blog header), I won’t need to repeat the entire cycle of trying to quit for them. Everyone wins! (Sort of?).

Anyway, to sum up somewhat haphazardly (god my conclusions/endings suck ass) I have no problem with anyone smoking as I believe it is your own choice. It is an addiction and praise should be given to those that want to quit, try to quit, fail but try again to quit. Hence I will just give one tip. If you want to achieve something (finish high school, loose weight, climb a mountain, ride a horse), try and do it for someone else (I wanna thank Jesus, my mom and Tom Sawyer). Things are so much easier that way!


Update (1/May/08): Via this blog post, I managed to find a nifty little counter that reflects how long a person has gone without smoking. I will add a version for my dad here and the date has been set at 12.00 AM, January 1st, 1990 just so it’s at a ‘neutral point’. I rather not reveal the exact date here but this later time is close enough. Quite interesting figures really.

QuitMeter Counter courtesy of