The Death of Kandu
By David Johnson
Got your attention? Sounds like a South African ‘Whodunnit’ doesn’t it? This story describes the demise of free will, unbridled thought, and our openness to new opportunities. Even though it is a slow death that moves at the speed of rust, we rarely ever see it coming.
I was standing gazing into the bathroom mirror, staring at the disaster that was once a young, innocent face, when my wife of 49 years asked me a question. She asked if our dishwasher could be fastened to the kitchen counter in such a way that it wouldn’t bump as the internal sprayer did its frenzied rotation inside the unit. Instead of telling her the ways it could be fixed, I found myself telling her the many reasons why it couldn’t be repaired. “Because the manufacturer designed it that way,” and “. . . it’s normal for a dishwasher to do that.”
When I was twenty-five, I would have come up with all sorts of “Rube Goldberg” contrivances to solve the problem, but now my mind was racing to invent reasons why I couldn’t make it happen. And then came my moment of epiphany. . .
I thought, “What happened to CAN DO! Where did he go? Did CAN DO die when his life support buddies, Free Will, Ambition, and Innovation left the building? Come to think of it, CAN DO’s old friend Spontaneity must have jumped ship at about the same time.”
The aging process works quietly and insidiously. It’s not just physical, with graying, wrinkles and hair growing where it never did before; it’s the gradual deterioration of our mental ‘outreach,’ and our willingness to engage.
Rationales like “I’m just too old to learn computers,” or “I just have too much on my plate right now,” or “My vote won’t make any difference,” are just excuses for staying out of the busy ‘passing lane.’ Some of us have lost our ‘passing lane’ on life’s busy highway, and we have become resigned to driving along behind the guy in front of us; at his speed, on his course of direction, and on his terms. And most of us never see the final ‘detour’ sign. . . .
As we age, it gets progressively easier to swap out our “Can Do” for a “been there, done that.” Remember, it’s our minds that put the spring in our step, not purely our muscles. It’s your mind that can bring excitement to a simple kiss or a kind word, and it’s your mind that can turn a simple trip into a memorable journey. Our eyes twinkle and smiles evolve for a very good reason; and when we blush we are displaying true, unvarnished emotion. When these basic ‘sparks’ die, so will the true magic that we were born with, and our CAN DO will be gone. The loss of this awesome force of energy is not only due to aging; it is a consensual retreat, long before our ‘war’ is over.
So mow down those pylons and open up your passing lane with the help of the Kandu that dwells within you, and then hit the gas. Kandu is a force that doesn’t suffer quitters!