“Too many Florence Nightingales
Not enough Robin Hoods
Too many halos not enough heroes
Coming up with the goods”
                        Flag Day – The Housemartins
I once wrote a blog for the 4th largest workwear store in Monaghan titled ‘Post hoc ergo propter hoc’. I’d used the Latin phrase, not because I studied Latin in school, which I did, but was terrible at it,but because I’d watched an episode of The West Wing with that title. It means ‘after this, therefore because of this’. I didn’t use it for any philosophical reason , it just sounded nice. But a day after using it a gentleman placed a large order with us because he loved Latin, which oddly proved the phrase.
The title of this week’s blog is also Latin. It means something sought for.

Last night I submitted my final assignment for the Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship course. It was supposed to be a business plan but may in fact have been the greatest work of fiction since the Bible. Many of my classmates have been very stressed over the last few weeks as the submission deadline galloped towards us. I wasn’t. I didn’t think I was. But I was. I pretended that I didn’t really care, when I cared a great deal. The last two days have passed in a blur of spreadsheets, class WhatsApp cries for help, surveys , missing bibliographies, more surveys, and an increasing fear and dread of all technologies, including , but not limited to, Excel, Adobe, pdf conversion tools, webinars, and anything that had the word ‘format’ in the description.

At one point yesterday I had to do something called a Value Proposition Canvas. It’s a straightforward enough thing to do, you jot down what you think your customer needs, why he needs them, what he hates/loves about his choices, then do a matching thingamy for your product or service and figure out how to match the two. St. Joanne The Tolerant, our course nurse/administrator and living holy saint had even given us a template to use. So that bit should have taken a leisurely 15 minutes.

I decided to do it in the style of an old patent application. More particularly in the style of Nicholas Tesla’s 1898 patent application for an electrical distribution system. I drew it out by hand and even had it witnessed by James Joyce and Patrick Kavanagh. It took me two hours.

But it’s done.

I went home last night around 9.30pm , sort of relieved to have finished it, and also sort of sad. This sadness was not helped by drinking a large glass of Rioja, a Guinness, another large glass of Rioja, several other Guinness’s and watching ‘David Bowie: The Last Five Years’, yes ,, a few tears were shed, some blubbing did take place and both cats moved to another room.

I wandered into work today, tidied away course module detritus, draft exercises, notebooks , draft customer personas for Yankee Doodle Danny, Benny The Twin McKenna, and Cal The Wookie Mackintosh. I put away the course handbook, or as we called it ‘That Fucking Handbook’, the cause of ,and solution to , many of our problems. I started to think of it as Schrodinger’s Handbook, as things were both in it and not in it at the same time.

They are all packed away in their drawer now.

So is that it ?

What was my quaesitum ?

I had never been to college before and never had a great hankering to go. An advert popped up on Facebook and I still don’t know why I clicked on it. I went to an open night, applied, was interviewed and miraculously accepted. So, I went to college. Trinity no less. But that wasn’t it.

I had not sought an education, certainly not a business one. But I have been inspired by the education I received from Dr.Karl Thomas and Finbarr Bradley. I have a well-thumbed copy of ‘The Irish Edge’ on my desk. So, I am now educated…after a fashion. But that wasn’t it.

I had not sought a college experience. And yet as I wandered around the cobbled courtyards where Beckett, Wilde and Stoker wandered I soaked it up. I managed to get St. Rachel The Practical to explain to me why I couldn’t use a quote from Winnie The Pooh’s Tigger to back up an argument in an assignment.  I even developed an admiration bordering on puppy love for our course leader , St.Gillian ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’. So, I am now experienced. But that wasn’t it.

What I was looking for was my place.

I found it.

I found it with Anne, Aoife, Lynda, Noelle, Seamus and all of my classmates.

I’ll always have it now.


P.S. Here is Flag Day by The Housemartins

Author: paul

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