Just Show Up?

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Heard over the weekend that Woody Allen supposedly once said, “90% of life is showing up.” Very clever. Except the quote is incorrect. I checked the almighty Internet, and actually he said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” In either case it’s much better than “I’m such a good lover because I practice a lot on my own.”
Anyway, showing up is the first step of success, but eighty percent is a little overrated I think. When I was in the third grade, my father dropped me off in the morning abacus class taught by one of the teachers in the school. Since we lived practically within a 3-minute walking distance from the school, natually I was late every morning. I’d walk into the packed stadium and squeeze into a seat near the entrance, otherwise I’d step on more people’s toes than necessary. The teacher would be reading off a long chain of numbers, +, -, multiply, etc. And then he’d ask people to raise their hands to announce their answers. It seemed everyone else knew how to use the abacus already. They must have learned the techniques during the first half of the classes that I missed.

One day my mother decided to test what I learned. She asked me to sum up a list of numbers. As she read each number, I pushed the beads on the abacus to show the number. And then she’d read another number, and I’d clear off the previous number to “count” the next number. In the end, I ended up with the last number she read. After this, I was finally relieved of going to the early morning sardine class to listen to people reading off long chains of numbers. I didn’t actually learn how to use the abacus until 5th grade with my homeroom teacher. So much for showing up.

I like this one: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

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