7 August 2013

22 – Wisdom In The Store Aisle

This is an unexpected essay. The following episode from my work life popped into my head while I was watching the waves a few days back. And I realized that it demonstrated valuable things about gaining understanding by confronting chaos. 

Myself and some coworkers had been setting up new shelving and product displays in the retail store where we work. It’s busy work that keeps us on our toes. I like that.

I tackled an incomplete and disorganized aisle after my lunch break. I set to work finishing the displays and setting product labels in the right places. Edgar and Joe tackled the neighbouring aisle. I’d not met them before. They’re no more than 18 or 19 years old. I was curious to see and hear what they'd do. Because that aisle was also a mess.

It didn’t faze them in the least. Edgar and Joe dove in headfirst and slowly began making sense of things. What I noticed most was that each time one noted how confusing things were the other would reassure him that together they’d get it sorted no matter what. Neither Edgar nor Joe let the confusion scare them away. They used it to drive them.

Edgar and Joe completely and correctly rearranged their section before the end of our shift. They even had enough time to swing over and help me complete my section. A veteran move by two rookies.

I came away from the experience with a great respect for Edgar and Joe. They showed themselves to be damn good workers. More importantly, they showed themselves to be damn nice young fellows too. 

And they showed me something about understanding that only struck me while I watched waves battering the shoreline. I realized that the path to understanding is born from chaos. Confusion is the seed from which the tree of wisdom grows. Instead of being feared, chaos and confusion should be embraced as opportunities to learn and grow. Sometimes we need to work through the mess to gain and appreciate the clean, clear view.  

Edgar and Joe are solid young fellows. Whenever World War Three breaks out I’d be happy to have them beside me in the trenches. They’re the kinds of guys who’d have your back and never leave you high and dry. They also showed me that an older, more experienced person can learn much from the focused and inspired energies of the young. Sometimes it's the students who teach the teachers.


  1. Very nice, Bob. I like that idea: "understanding is born form chaos." I see that at this point in my life :)

    1. Thanks Jason.

      I find myself appreciating that a lot more now as well. Life becomes more tolerable when we accept it doesn't unfold neatly and according to a set plan. Cheers!

  2. Bob, this article is absolutely stunning.. I appreciate your kind words and am very glad I met such a hard working and kind person as yourself. I cannot wait too continue working with you and growing our friendship.

    Your partner in battle, JOE!

    1. Hey Joe!

      Thanks to you guys for being excellent! I'm calling it exactly as I see it. Keep doing what you're doing. Have a good Sunday!

  3. I realized that the path to understanding is born from chaos. Confusion is the seed from which the tree of wisdom grows.

    these two statements, along with the rest of the paragraph they came from, are some of the most profound, beautifully put observations i've ever read. your words are so refreshing and uplifting, keep it up! (:


    1. hi nicole fuckole,

      Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed and found something useful here. Please come back again. And don't worry, I will keep it up! :)



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