Thursday, February 13, 2014


While speaking with a loved one recently, she reminded me of a Brazilian Portuguese idiom that put some things in perspective. She told me not to look back, because there's nothing that can be done about the decisions we've made in the past, and not to give up because there are so many things worth fighting for in the future. While hindsight is 20/20, it's a waste to mull over the details (unless you are writing a biography, or it's in your job description).

The saying goes like this:

"Quem anda para trás é caranguejo. Quem fica parado é poste. Quem evolui é ser humano."

Crabs walk backwards. Posts are stationary. Humans evolve.

I immediately thought of this little guy that I met on a beach in Fortaleza. It was the first crab that I've come across that not only didn't scurry away, but hunkered down and observed... me? (Cutest thing ever!)

This expression also brought to mind that thing that I like to do on the beach, where I get just within reach of the retreating waves as they are pulled back to sea. I like to stand there in the shifting sand, seeing how far I can burrow down with each wave, becoming a human post. It's pretty easy to keep your balance until you're about mid-calf down, and a really big wave comes in. That's usually when I realize I'm stuck, and hope an even bigger one isn't right behind. Risky business. I suppose I've been guilty of this type of behavior in other arenas, as well. Hmm...

Then I remembered this commercial by Fiat. I guess the beach brings out the philosopher in all of us (or it's just a really good backdrop for marketing), or something.

The commercial shows a dog walker who tells himself that he should have been an executive, looking at an exec, who is at what appears to be an impressive lunch meeting. The executive, catching a glimpse of the seemingly glamorous life of a famous band, sighs and laments that he should have been a rock star. Later, in his tour bus, the rock star passes a beach and yearns for the more laid-back lifestyle of a lifeguard. The lifeguard, feeling overwhelmed, wishes that he had been born a crab. The crab just laughs, and says that he can't stand walking sideways anymore.  The announcer says, "Sometimes we just want to leave it all behind."

The grass is always greener on the other side, even on the beach.

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