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A Kid Called Bland


A kid called Bland once punched me on the nose.  I was 12 or 13.  I was at a bus stop.  I was chatting up a girl.  I don’t know what I said or did to upset him, but clearly, he felt that things had gone way beyond dialogue, so he launched off and caught me straight on the hooter, the beezer, the proboscis.

It hurt.

My eyes streamed, my nose bled and my humiliation in front of this girl was total.  Wow!  Which hurt the most?

I don’t know what her name was, can’t even remember her face, but I do remember Bland.  That had to be well over 60 years ago. And that’s all I remember.  I imagine the bus came and I – we? – got on it and went home.

A punch in the schnoz tends to get one’s attention and wipe out events before and after.

So, why bring this up? 

Well, to get reflective, events can take us by surprise, and we have to cope with them – try and survive, maybe even learn from them.  For me, it was an early lesson in thinking about the impact of what I might say or do.  It was the first of any number of lessons in which I had to face the results of my indifference, my lack of consideration.

To say that I was surprised would be an understatement.  Events which carry lessons aren’t always so direct, so dramatic – and they don’t always involve quantities of blood.  But, to get metaphorical, they can be surprising, painful and even bloody.

So, when were you last taken by surprise?  And what did you take from the experience?  What did you learn?  How did it change you?

I sometimes use an exercise in workshops entitled “When were you last surprised at work?”  I use it as a starting point.  Get people to recall such an event, to share it and then examine what it tells us about ourselves, about others, about situations and about the organisations for which we work.  It’s surprising just how much can come out of such a simple exercise.

Have you been belted in the snout recently?  What did you learn?