The Impenetrable Wall

Can we say that something was taught if the recipient of the teaching doesn’t learn?

After all, the teacher expends much time, energy, thought and creativity trying to impart knowledge. Therefore, the teacher deserves credit for teaching, don’t you think?

But if all the teaching bounces off the student’s brain without penetrating, isn’t that more like a tennis player bouncing a ball off a wall and practicing his swing? The tennis player teaches the wall nothing, but he does get a chance to play. More or less. The tennis player would surely prefer a real human to play with, but must make do with a wall sometimes. A wall is better than nothing.

I am a wall.

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pyramus says, “O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss! Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!”

Pyramus is talking about the difficulty of seeing and speaking to his love through the wall that separates them, but I can see my teachers shouting that at me. I promised to learn but deceived the teacher by not learning, and by being so thick and hard a wall, that the bliss of enlightenment never shows.

Yes, indeed. I am talking about my attempt to learn Bridge. This blog post is dedicated to my friends, S and J, and to my husband, who have all spent years trying to teach me the game, only to find out that they are really lobbing tennis balls against a wall.

My problem is two-fold.

  1. Did you know there are 52 cards in a deck? My goodness! In this infernal game, you have to remember where they all are all the time. It makes me think of being in charge of 52 toddlers all toddling this way and that, and how can I possibly keep track of all of them? Yikes! Tiffany, stop! Don’t run into the road! Sean, No! You are heading to a steep hill! Eli!!!! Watch out for the big rock! Aiiiii! Substitute these kids’ names for the Jack of Spades, the Queen of Hearts, or the 10 of Diamonds and you will understand my angst.
  2. Did you know there are a million, gazillion, badillion rules to remember in Bridge? I have a problem with rules anyway. I want to know why the rule was set, and then if I agree with the logic, I will follow it. But I am not wont to follow rules blindly. (Go ahead and throw the first stone if you have never jaywalked.☺) Now, I am told these Bridge rules are logical and have been formed after centuries of practice. Oh really? A Wall, understandably, has some trouble seeing the logic.

I really do like the game. I really should invest more time in learning it. I really should try not to be such a Wall. It’s on my to-do list…number 6,482,915. I hope to get to it soon.

Noticers, please tell me I am not alone. Is each one of you a Bridge Master rolling your eyes at me?


©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk peppered with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

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Margery Leveen Sher is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur with decades of experience as a consultant for major corporations and government agencies.  She is the founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project, and is currently writing the definitive book on Noticing.