The Kinder Surprise
a) Hate surprises
b) Love surprises
c) Your inner jury is still out on the matter
d) What are surprises
e) Depends on the kind of surprise it is
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman
The frogman (he’s a frog from one angle of perspective, and a man holding a bunch of grapes from another – why is he holding grapes?) pictured above was a surprise to me of the kinder kind…
He’s actually a Kinder Surprise prize from 1999.
I didn’t know that when I spotted him sitting in amongst a clutter of antiques and collectibles at a fair I went to on Sunday
(I was rather surprised to be there… as I often miss these sort of events. This one seemed like one which was going to get missed…).
The person who sold him to me (for what I considered to be a price I was willing to pay for such a cute and… magical being) didn’t know anything about him when I asked. Maybe they knew and didn’t want to tell me as it might ruin whatever story I was telling myself which was making me want to buy him from them…
(the best salesmen let you do the selling for and to yourself…)
Looking up the numbers etched into him revealed his identity and provenance faster than I thought it would (you never know with the internet).
Knowing he’s just a Kinder Surprise surprise and not some ancient relic with mystical properties is not a problematic surprise, in fact that’s kind of cool…
Since I turned forty, I’ve become more childish than I’ve ever been even when I was actually a child.
I’ve also become more selfish…
or more to the point I’ve become more accepting of being selfish.
It’s no longer a bad surprise to me when I am that way,
although it may be a bad surprise to others,
especially those who knew me when I endeavoured to never be that way because they made it quite clear that they would not put up with that kind of behaviour from me – but I had to put up with that kind of behaviour from them
(not putting up with them being selfish made me immediately selfish in their eyes, and they told me so… so I could stop being that way and do/say/be what they wanted me to do/say/be for them).
– and they would reject me harshly, cruelly, loudly, for it
(I had to pay for their pain),
even though they would tell me that they are never harsh, cruel or loud,
this is my fault… I would be made the villain in their play of heroics where their victories are always Pyrrhic.
It’s not easy being unselfish,
in fact it’s a mistake-filled gauntlet to run with sharp instruments swinging hither and thither wanting to slice you to pieces…
with lessons you only learn the hard way…
it feels like a full time job with lousy pay.
I’d never be able to buy a frogman with what I’ve earned from being unselfish according to others’ definition of how I should be doing it (because I shouldn’t be buying useless tat for myself with what I’ve earned I should be spending it on them)…
What we name someone or something…
often has more to do with us than it has to do with them.
We need someone or something carrying this name, label, purpose, to be a part of our lives… and we don’t want it to be us.
They sometimes have to live with the name we’ve given them, the burden we’ve placed upon them, the wound we’ve passed on… perhaps hoping they’ll heal it for us,
as perhaps someone else hoped we’d heal it for them when they named us or used our given name in a certain manner, then wanted us to adjust to their definition of it and not stick with our own meaning of it.
There was something healing about buying the frogman,
and calling him frogman,
maybe he’s actually a manfrog,
or perhaps his name is Edna,
and maybe he is a she.
He is a kinder surprise, whatever his name or gender is…
buying him made me suffer a surprise of the self of the this feels rather kind…
a kinder surprise…
and has made me wonder about…
maybe I should do more of this in spite of how guilty, ashamed, whatnot, it may make me think I should feel to spend some time (and money) on myself…
those sort of surprises sometimes are rare when you live to be as old as we may surprisingly live to be…
and we’re so used to putting up with unkinder surprises.