Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 2)

Taking Back Joy. When I listened to a happy song from childhood and started dancing, I felt happy. Survivor guilt can rob you of your joy. After his passing, I tried to have fun with my children. We took things that reminded us of Dave and made it part of our lives. Allow yourself to be happy and be kind to yourself. Joy has to come your within yourself and no one else. How you spend each day matters more than only the big moments of joy. Do the small things that make you happy. Write down the moments of joy each day. Happiness does require work. Humans are wired to focus on the negative as compared to the positive. The cool breeze could be a positive moment for gratitude too. Happiness can equate to peacefulness too. Try to engage in something challenging and engrossing that can give you that flow state. Exercise can help you to achieve that flow state quickly. Joy can give us strength too. You can find joy in the small moments that you seize and create for yourself.

Raising Resilient Kids. One way is to respond to embarrassment with humour. It is wise to just announce the sad news to your kids directly. We owe it to our children to make them as happy as possible. Early intervention is critical. The school needs to protect a safe environment for kids. Disadvantaged families should be provided with home visits and counseling. Resilience is a lifelong project. Children must develop these few beliefs: they have some control over their lives; they can bounce back from failure; they matter as human beings; they have real strength. It is important to help them understand that they are in control of their lives. Pre-school has a huge role to play in this. Allow your kids to share their dreams with others. It is important to get an education. Kids should adopt a growth instead of fixed mindset. Sometimes, complimenting too soon doesn’t work. Rather, one should comment ‘I’m glad you tried your hardest’. Adults need to tell the kids that they matter. In Denmark, children are encouraged to share their problems in class. Help your kid identify his strengths by making him pick up skills. For instance, you could encourage the kid to pick up a musical instrument. Respect your feelings and try not to suppress them. Sleep matters even during times of adversity. Learning how to forgive is also extremely important. Do not afraid to ask for help and encourage your kids to do so. Sometimes, I still talk about Dave as it helps to keep Dave’s memory alive. If your kids can have a strong understanding of your family members and their parents, they have been coping skills. Nostalgia is usually good as it reflects a pleasant state most of the time. Make the most out of Option B. Keep photos and videos of your loved ones as these help to create happiness.

Finding Strength Together. Hope is the key to resilience. It is possible to bond over hope and create a shared identity. People can pray together. It is important to change tragedy into a miracle. Keep your faith at all times. There is unity in strength. Collective resilience is also dependent on shared experiences etc. Attending support groups can also help you deeply. It might be wise to join a community after a tragedy. Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. Shared narratives can play a big part. It is also useful to be lifted by positive ‘stereotypes’ right at the start. Support circles help to build collect resilience. It can certainly be difficult to forgive a gunman who killed so many people. As a community, we can gather together to tackle the tough problems in life. Empowering communities can be the key sometimes. As a community, we can learn to support vulnerable groups.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. – Martin Luther King Jr

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. – Martin Luther King Jr

Failing and Learning at Work. I took my kids to visit SpaceX. We need to learn from our failures. Often, we are too proud to admit that we made a mistake. The majority of things that people regretted was the actions they failed to take. Move fast and break things. At Facebook, we go for teambuilding and often fail at challenges. Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity. You could ask colleagues what their biggest screw-up is and everyone could compete to see who the biggest screw-up is. Resilience is needed in all organizations of all sizes. We need to all focus on learning from failure. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Learn to gather and act on negative feedback. We all have our own blind spots but often ignore them. Feedback is hard to take. Sports teams often learn from their mistakes. Learn to take suggestions from a coach too. Try not to treat the feedback personally. People are afraid of criticizing others. Everyone should have at least 1 hard conversation in the past.

The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. – Sheryl Sandberg

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. – Sheryl Sandberg

To Love and Laugh Again. Being alone can be an empowering decision indeed. Getting married increases one’s happiness just by a bit. I wanted to find love again after Dave passed on. If you date too soon, people may judge you. Men are more likely to date after their spouse has passed on. The responsibility of caring for children and aged parents seems to fall on the women more. Widows in some parts of the world are cruelly treated. Do not listen to others. When your heart feels like you should date, you should go ahead. However, dating does not erase the grief and that is perfectly fine. When we fall in love, we have a great sense of energy and euphoria. Dating helps brings back the humour. Eventually, one will even learn to joke about death. Joking about Dave now helps to break the tension. Humor makes situations less stressful. It is still very much possible to love someone even after they have died. It is crucial to pay attention to the everyday interaction with our partners. You must turn towards their bid. One way to re-ignite the spark in a relationship is to try new activities. Partners have to be able to overcome conflict. You can’t control whether you fall in love. There is always Option B and we can still find joy.

Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others. Finding a way to make love last through the highs and lows. – Sheryl Sandberg

optionb-book

Advertisements

Don’t blame me, It’s not my fault by Jimmy Liao (我的錯都是大人的錯)

  • If I become a desolate, disappointed and hurt kid, would you still be willing to love me?
  • I know that I haven’t been the perfect child, but you haven’t been perfect parents either. If we all forgive each other and strive hard, we will thrive.
  • Whether we are awake or asleep, we are sent from God. It’s just that the adults can’t see that.
  • Adults forget that they were once children as well. In their pockets, there used to be all kinds of weird creatures. In their brains, there used to be thoughts of colorful rainbows.
  • Adults always try to figure out a child’s inner world but without much success. A child doesn’t bother with matters of the heart and just lives life like it is.
  • Sometimes, adults are strange people. One moment, they wish that their children will be intelligent. The next moment, they wish that they would be authentic and childish in nature.
  • Children don’t understand why adults emphasize that they must learn to endure stress in their lives.
  • Adults always wish that their children can live their dreams, to be a delightful role model kid. However, such dreams often lead children feeling helpless.
  • They is a famous Chinese saying that those who can take hardship will emerge stronger and resolute. However, many adults don’t seem to have changed for the better after enduring hardship.
  • Children would rather get hurt by the deities than hear the sarcasm and scorn directed by adults at them.
  • Adults remark that their children’s future is full of endless possibilities, just like the open sky. Can it be that they both live under different skies?
  • Some parents wish that their children will win the race, but are oblivious at the struggles of them when they finally cross the finishing line.
  • A person’s fate is never decided by others.
  • The true measure of success isn’t in how much you possess, but in how much you are willing to let go.
  • Why must you decide to leave home if you’re eating and sleeping well?
  • Why can the wind gently rustle the leaves in the trees, but you can’t appreciate what I say?
  • It is difficult to imagine that every great being out there used to be a childish brat.
  • Why is the sky blue? Why is the water in the lake green? Why do the flowers bloom in spring? Why do the leaves fall in autumn? Why haven’t I discovered the answer to life as I age?
  • Adults always say to their young children: ‘Never give up on your dreams.’ But why are the adults the ones who usually give up on their dreams?
  • The best thing about this world is that every day is brand new and you leave the past behind.
  • Why are the elephant’s tusks worth so much in value even though they don’t have to brush it clean? Don’t remind me to brush my teeth in future.
  • Where are the adults? Why aren’t they coming to save us? They are currently having a meeting to analyze how to bring up the next generation of children to reach greater heights than before.
  • Adults think kids are like a tortoise who threads slowly. But don’t forget, the slow and steady tortoise is the one that wins the race.
  • Adults are not really observant folks and they tend to miss out the minor details.
  • Adults say that their children is like a mirror’s reflection of themselves. Whatever they say or do is a reflection of their upbringing. For children to be role models in future, parents have to set a good example. However, as a kid, I do not desire to be a role model. All I want is to be myself and not to be the reflection in the mirror of anyone else.
  • After a child shuts his eyes, he dreams and remains hopeful. When adults shut their eyes, they fall asleep and start drooling.
  • Adults have no right to throw away a child’s possessions. Anything he/she owns contains warm sentimental value.
  • Adults often do not understand the power of imagination exhibited by children.
  • When you find out that your child possesses special abilities, do not be alarmed. Do not be frightened. Learn to keep it a secret as you might have it as well.
  • Dear Papa and Mam, do understand that I truly love you. I don’t know why, but there are some things which I can’t share with you.
  • If you had two sweets in your pocket, would you share and give me one? If you had two precious stones in your pocket, would you share and give me one? If you had two stars in your pocket, would you share and give me one?
  • Is it possible for imagination to get exhausted? Will eternal happiness end? Will my dreams never surface again? I’m worried.
  • If humans only think about saving money, no one should have a child! It’s such a waste of resources. You need to spend money on food, use your time and wealth etc.
  • If adults never believe what kids say, then why do they have the right to tell us stories which they do not believe in the first place?
  • When I’m lonely, tell me where you are and at the same time, admit to me that you’re lonely because I’m lonely too.
  • When I love you, return the favour and love me as well. When I do not love you, please continue loving me and do not tease me.
  • No matter the difficulties, no matter how fraught with challenges the growing-up phase is, do promise me that I must grow up well. Thank you. That’s all I wanted to say.

jimmyliao

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Mole had been working hard all morning cleaning his home. It was Spring now. He suddenly left the house in frustration. He digged his way until he was above ground and saw sunlight. Later, he started rolling in the grass in a meadow. He was delighted as he ran to the hedge. An elderly rabbit collected tool for the private road. He was the only idle dog among the busy animals. Later, he reached the edge of a fully fed river. The Mole hadn’t seen a river before and was fascinated by the life in the river. Something caught his eye at the opposite bank. However, that glowing object vanished after a while. It was a brown little face with whiskers. It was the Water Rat. The rat offered him a ride on his blue boat. It was a wonderful day. It was the Mole’s first time in a boat. Later, the boat hit the bank accidentally. The Water Rat wanted to go on a tour. There were plenty of food in their basket they were carrying. The river was brother and sister to the Rat. It was his World. There was a wild woods nearby, which the water rat hadn’t explored. There were animals like squirrels, rabbits, Badger. Nobody bothered the badger. There were also weasels, stoats and foxes, which the rat couldn’t trust. Beyond the wild wood was the wide world, whom none of them have explored. Later, they came upon a mill house. They rested on the grass and started eating. Later, the Otter came out and wanted to share the food with us too. Later, the Badger appeared as well but disappeared soon after. The Toad was out as well. The Toad liked to build new things and wasn’t easily satisfied. The Otter was nowhere to be seen now. The Mole packed the packet. Now, the mole wanted to row as well. The rat didn’t allow him to. Later, the mole seized the sculls from him. The boat capsized and both of them struggled. Later, the rat saved him and hauled him to the bank. The Rat recovered the basket and the boat. The Mole apologized for his actions. The Rat forgave him and offered to teach him how to row and swim. In the night, the rat recounted stories about the river. The Mole managed to pick up some skills which the rat taught him.

After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working. – Kenneth Grahame

Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. – The Water Rat

What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. – The Water Rat

Why can’t fellows be allowed to do what they like WHEN they like and AS they like, instead of other fellows sitting on banks and watching them all the time and making remarks and poetry and things about them? – The Water Rat

Glorious, stirring sight! The poetry of motion! The REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel! – The Toad

The mole wanted a favour from Ratty. Now, the rat started singing a song he composed called ‘Ducks Ditty’. The mole wanted to make friends with Mr Toad. The toad was a good natured animal. He was also very simple and good-natured. Toad was very rich and he had a Hall. The toad liked to try new stuff in life. He was looking at the map when the rat and the mole found him. He visited the both into his house. The toad had given up on boating long ago. He wanted to channel his time to something more important. He brought them to the stable yard. There, they saw a gipsy caravan. He wanted change, travel and excitement. The Rat was not pleased as he wanted to boat. The interior was lovely indeed. There was everything inside, and it contained much more than the basket in the boat. The Toad wanted to introduce Rat to the world. The rat flatly rejected him and didn’t want to go. Mole also wanted to stick with rat. However, the travelling did seem tempting. The toad wanted them over for lunch. His motto in life was to live for others. After understanding Mole’s character, the Toad played on that. The Toad eventually managed to convince them to join him. Toad was excited about the trip and kept talking about it. After Toad asked, the rat was not willing to talk about the river as he didn’t want to. The Mole was very sticky and constantly obeyed the rat. Toad also had to do his share of the work. Eventually, they encountered disaster on the trip. They heard a droning sound. It approached them at high speed. It was an animal that made a ‘poop-poop’ sound. It was a bee. The horse panicked and their cart ended up in the ditch. The whole cart was in a wreck now. A motor-car also caused them to have the accident. Rat was angry and wanted to sue the river. The Toad wore a placid satisfied expression. The Toad was in a trance and kept murmuring ‘Poop-poop’. He wanted a motorcar and thought of the wonders it could achieve. The toad was like that, always obsessed over the new craze in town. The rat was pissed at Toad’s behavior as he just sat there and smiled to himself. Now, rat wanted the Toad to go to the nearest police station and report the incident while Rat and Mole wanted to rest. Toad was quite useless and didn’t want to help. Later, they deposited Toad in a waiting room. Later that evening, Toad took a train to town and ordered a large and expensive motor car.

The mole wanted to know the badger as well. Badger hates society in general and wouldn’t go for events. He was very shy. He lives in the Wild Wood. Badger never came and he lived alone in the Wild Wood. The rat started writing poetry as well. It was a pretty day. In the winter, the rat slept a great deal. It was finally June. The Mole wanted to explore the Wild Wood alone. While in the woods, the Mole saw strange faces and imagined things. There were many holes and the faces were intermittent. Deeper in the forest, he heard whistling. Later, the rain started falling. A rabbit ran past him and hid in a friendly burrow. In panic, the mole ran and hit into different objects. Finally he hid under the old beech tree. The rat was at home and dozed by his fireside. He realized that the mole was not there. Now, the rat knew from the tracks that the Mole entered the Wild Wood and he took a pistol and followed in the same direction. The Rat shouted, hoping the Mole could hear him. Finally he managed to find the Mole. The rat explained that it was safe entering the forest if you didn’t know the secret codes. Now, the mole rested before they would go home. Finally, the rat admitted that it was snowing. A fine powder filled the air. They held on to each other. Both of them were heavily fatigued. The snow was getting deeper now. There didn’t seem to be a way out at the moment. Suddenly, the mole tripped and fell. He hurt his leg. The rat offered to help him with his wound. It was a clean cut. The rat found something and yelled Hooray. It was a door scraper. The rat started to scrape the ground. It revealed a door mat. The mole didn’t understand and didn’t see what the big deal was. The rat encouraged the mole to dig as it could be a place where they could find shelter for the night. Later, after scraping, they saw the sign ‘Mr Badger’. The mole now respected the rat’s intelligence. They ran the bell of the house now.

Finally there were footsteps approaching the door. It was Badger. He invited Mole and Rat inside. They found themselves in a kitchen. It was a spotless place. The Badger brought them dressing gowns and slippers. He liked to see ‘I told you so’ or ‘Just what I always said’ in his conversations. Toad was getting from bad to worse. Toad didn’t like to be taught. He was hospitalized after encountering a few accidents but still didn’t learn. Badger said he couldn’t help as it was winter. The rat didn’t want to help him. The rat found the Badger’s house to be oppressive. The next morning, two hedgehogs joined them for breakfast. They were also lost in the snow. One of them was Billy. Badger was in his study that morning. The Otter appeared now. Most animals went to Badger when they were in trouble. The snow had wrecked some havoc back in town. The rabbits were not very helpful animals. Mole was generally very good natured. The hedgehogs were famished. It was good to be underground as no one would disturb you. Weather wouldn’t affect you if you were underground too. Rat had to content with varying weather conditions. Now, Badger showed the Mole around his home. The architecture was amazing, to say the least. The Wild Wood used to be a city filled with humans. Animals soon occupied the abandoned city. The Wild Wood soon became very populated. The rat wanted to leave but the Badger persuaded him to stay. Later, they explored the surroundings.

People come – they stay for a while, they flourish, they build – and they go. It is their way. But we remain. We Badgers are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be. – Badger

The rat, mole and otter were in good spirits now. They found the way that led home. They observed houses and the animal life. Later, they observed a bird in a bird cage. The Rat was leading the way. Mole was caught by an electric wire and got shocked by the experience. It was home, finally. The rat went on ahead but Mole sensed his old home was nearby and wanted to visit it. The rat wanted mole to press on as the snow was getting heavier. Mole was upset but continued and did not think of abandoning Rat. Rat didn’t sense his displeasure and later they rested. Now, the mole started crying and Rat didn’t know how to respond. He related his sorrows about not being able to visit his old home. The rat acknowledged that it was his fault and wanted to go back. However, it was dark and the snow was falling. Despite this, they headed back . The mole started digging and they found a door labelled ‘Mole End’. The sentimental objects were all still intact. The rat started exploring his home and wanted to spend the night here. They started a fire to keep themselves warm. Now, they started foraging for food. Many of the items were purchased using an inheritance from Mole’s aunt. The field-mice were caroling and Mole wanted to feed them. There were 8 of them in a semicircle and they started to sing. It was certainly a joyful occasion. Rat invited the mice into the house as well. They prepared ale and everyone drank and made merry. The field-mice knew how to act in plays as well. Everyone talked about old times. The Mole started reflecting and knew that it was good to return to an old place even thought he would be exploring the world.

Independence is all very well, but we animals never allow our friends to make fools of themselves beyond a certain limit; and that limit you’ve reached. Now, you’re a good fellow in many respects, and I don’t want to be too hard on you. – Badger

The Mole and the water rat were concerned with the boat activities. It was Badger at the door. It was Toad’s hour and they all vowed to teach him to be a sensible toad. The plan was to head to Toad Hall and then rescue him from there. There was a shiny red motor-car parked in front of his house. They took him into the house just as Toad wanted to drive off. Toad refused to remove his racing gear. Mole and Rat used force to remove his racing gear. Toad was notorious and was causing harm on the road. Badger was now lecturing him. The toad cried after the lecture. He was limp and dejected now. Eventually, he vowed to give up on the motor-cars. In the room, Toad vowed to change his ways. But that he was outside, he was a changed animal again. Rat wasn’t surprised by his behavior. The three animals vowed to stay with Toad now and take care of him. They each had a roster where they would watch on him to make sure he had no mischief. The rat would spend time with Toad this morning. Toad admitted that he didn’t want to bother the other animals and that he was nuisance. Toad wanted a doctor now. He also wanted a lawyer now. The rat, thinking that these two figures might help Toad, went to look for them. The toad took this chance to leave his hall. Toad wondered around to the high road and basked in Nature’s glory. He thought that rat had good qualities but wasn’t very intelligent. Toad was a conceited animal. One day, he heard the poop-poop sound of a vehicle and went outside to examine it. The car was unattended and he thought about driving it. The passion seized him, body and soul. He started driving and felt that everyone ought to give way to him. The Bench of Magistrates wanted to charge him and put Toad behind bars for 20 years. He was caught. Toad was placed in a dungeon that lay in the innermost keep. Sadly, he was prisoner in the most remote dungeon in England.

Mole waited for his friend to return. Rat was not around at his home. Little Portly was missing again. He was missing for a few days now and no one knew where he was. It was Otter’s son and Otter was nervous. Otter was also looking for Little Portly. Rat and Mole wanted to paddle up stream and wanted to search. While searching, they hear a clear articulate voice. Rat and Mole were in the boat at the moment. The noise disappeared again. It was beautiful and it was the call of distant piping. Later, they reached a point where the river divided. Later, he saw tears on the comrade’s cheeks. The music was heavenly. The two animals passed the tumultuous waters. Mole felt at peace now. They spotted an object with curved horns. They found the baby otter. Portly squeaked in delight when he saw Rat and Mole. Portly searched around for his parents but couldn’t find them. The animals tied him securely to the boat and rescued him. The quest ended happily and Otter and his son were reunited. Rat and Mole were tired. While appreciating the music, they soon fell asleep.

Toad lamented that this was the end and that his life was no longer the same now. He lamented at his poor behavior in the past. One day, the gaoler’s daughter knocked on Toad’s cell. She brought Toad food from the oven. Most of the time, Toad wailed in his cell and kicked with his legs. Now, Toad thought of new and inspiring thoughts after smelling hot cabbage. He was recovering fast. The good food improved his mood and Toad started talking about himself more. Toad related about the Toad Hall and his experiences previously to the girl. She, later, started to pity Toad for he was locked up for a trivial offence. She suggested a plan for him to escape, which was to dress up as the official washerwoman. The girl wanted to introduce her aunt, a washerwoman to Toad. Now, toad looked just like her aunt. Finally, toad was a free man. He came upon a railway station. There was a train that was bound for Toad Hall. To his horror, Toad realized that he forgot to take his belongings with him. The ticket agent didn’t want to sell him the ticket as Toad didn’t have money with him. Now, he tried to beg the engine-driver. Toad would have to wash a few of his shirts in exchange for a free ride. Toad knew he could pay to get his clothes washed once he returned home. There was another train that was pursuing them and gaining on them. On that train, there were men like policemen. Now, he revealed his identity to the engine-driver and begged for forgiveness. The driver agreed to help him. The plan was for Toad to jump off the train and hide in the woods before the train entered the tunnel. Toad followed the plan and managed to get away undetected. However, he was thrown in the wild wood now. Finally, Toad found a resting spot under a hollow tree, where he would spend his night.

The rat was restless. Some of the animals experienced migratory patterns and this was observed by the rat. Later, rat wandered country-wards. Now, he started wandering in the forest. The mice were playing a game. There would be horrid machines in the areas soon and the mice wanted to move their good stuff away. The rat returned to his river now. The birds were also feeling restless now. Rat didn’t understand why the birds were planning to leave and thought it would be sad to leave a place you knew. The birds explained why they were leaving. Rat realized that the outside world might be better, where fortunes and adventures await him. There was a dusty rat which appeared now. He was a wayfarer. The wayfarer knew that the Rat’s life was the best after he compared it to his other experiences. The wayfarer was originally from Constantinople and was a foreigner. The Water rat wanted to learn from the wayfarer. Family troubles caused the wayfarer to explore, before he entered up in Venice. It was certainly a beautiful city. He liked the art of travelling and exploring. To the rat, the wayfarer’s life seemed hard. The two rats started to have a picnic by the roadside. The Water Rat listened to the Sea Rat’s travels. The Sea Cat encouraged him to be adventurous too. Just as he was leaving, Mole caught sight of the Water Rat. However, the rat experienced a seizure now and appeared troubled. When he was better, the Rat tried his best to explain why happened during the day.

Toad got up and headed to the kitchen. He didn’t know where he was. Finally he remembered that he escaped from prison. He was delighted to be free. He had all the time in the room for himself. Now, all he wanted was for someone to guide him on a path so that he wouldn’t get lost. Later, he marched on the water’s edge. Then he saw a big stout woman along the way. Toad lied about having a married daughter and that he wanted to find her. He wanted to go back to Toad Hall. The woman gave him a lift. He pretended to be a washer-woman. The woman always thought about washing stuff on her husband. She wanted him to help her with some washing. He was resigned to learning how to wash. However, Toad realized that he bad at it. His paws started to get crinkly from the water. The woman commented that he couldn’t wash and Toad got furious. She wanted him off now that she realized he was a toad. Toad entered up in the water. He chased after her barge, wanting revenge. He rode on a horse and commanded it to gallop vigorously. Later, he saw a man on a caravan smoking. Toad wanted food from the pot he was cooking in. The gipsy asked Toad if he wanted to sell his horse. Toad refused to sell and now said that his horse was a prize-winning one. The man offered Toad 5 shillings only for it. Toad gave a counteroffer and wanted breakfast as well. The man kept to his word and cooked Toad a sumptuous breakfast. Later, he left the gipsy with the money. Thankfully, toad was near his home. Now, Toad felt conceited over his achievements. To him, he was the best animal around. He tried to hail a car down but it turned out it was the one he stole from the Hotel and got arrested for it. He knew he might be arrested again. To his surprise, the men in the car saw that he was struggling and wanted to help him as a washerwoman. He couldn’t resist his temptations and now wanted to take the wheel. The gentlemen agreed to let Toad try. Now, he kept going faster and faster. Toad pinned the passenger down and admitted he was Toad. Later, the car entered up in a horse-pond. Toad landed up in the grass now. Now, Toad ran away and started laughing to himself. Just then, there were policemen in the distance who were chasing him. Unknowingly, Toad actually ran in the river. Coincidentally, while resting in the river, he saw water rat.

What a clever Toad I am! There is surely no animal equal to me for cleverness in the whole world! – The Toad

Now, Toady, I don’t want to give you pain, after all you’ve been through already; but, seriously, don’t you see what an awful ass you’ve been making of yourself? – The Water Rat

Be a cripple, if you think it’s exciting; be a bankrupt, for a change, if you’ve set your mind on it; but why choose to be a convict? When are you going to be sensible, and think of your friends, and try and be a credit to them? – The Water Rat

Rat grabbed him to shore and safety. Toad told him how proud he was of all his exploits. Rat wanted him to get dressed and didn’t entertain him. Toad was happy to have lunch. Toad promised to be good. He wanted to lead a respectable life now. Rat informed him that weasels had taken over Toad Hall. The animals in the Wild Wood didn’t defend Toad. The weasels were harmed and occupied the place despite resistance. Mole and Badger were hurt in the fight. Later, the Toad didn’t believe Rat and went to march towards the house. The sentries nearly shot Toad. Later, Toad tried steering a boat but the boat crashed and sank. He lost Rat’s boat and Rat was deeply upset. It turns out that Badger and Mole helped to look after Toad Hall when Toad was in trouble. Later, in came Badger. Mole came in shortly after. Both animals looked haggard and weak. Now, Toad refused to listen to Rat and Mole. It was now Badger’s turn to intervene. Toad cried instantly when lectured by Badger. Badger knew that there was hope of recapturing Toad Hall as he knew there was a secret underground passage that led people right into the middle of it. It was Toad’s dad that created the passage. The animals would execute the plan tomorrow. They each distributed weapons and were ready to go.

Rat dressed everyone up for the expedition. Toad tried to make a fool of himself, angering Badger. The toad was nervous. They were all in the passage now. They pushed through a trap door now. Later, they came upon the chief weasel. The weasels were stunned and they started fleeing. In 5 minutes, they managed to clear the room. They later found some food lying around and started having supper. Most of the weasels rolled into the river. Badger was pleased with Mole’s performance throughout. The remaining weasels were remorseful and listened to Mole now. There would be a banquet to celebrate later that evening. Toad would write the speech for that evening. Rat was firm and didn’t allow Toad to sing. His songs were all conceited ones. Toad was melancholic now after his request was turned down. Later, he locked the door and began to sing. After which, Toad went down to greet the other guests. Toad was a humble man now. Badger was like a fatherly figure to all.

It’s no good, Toady; you know well that your songs are all conceit and boasting and vanity; and your speeches are all self-praise, and-and-well, and gross exaggeration. – Water Rat

Badger was the mastermind; the Mole and the Water Rat bore the brunt of the fighting; I merely served in the ranks and did little or nothing. – Toad

Wind in the Willows

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I was a poor child and my parents were touchy on issues. My brother visits me every weekend. He used to be a writer, but now he’s a prostitute in Hollywood. Pencey, my school, was disappointing. There’s weren’t many girls at school. School was terrible to say the least. Selma Thurmer was not a pretentious girl at all and I liked that. I was the fencing team’s manager. I got sacked from school due to poor grades. The school had plenty of crooks although it was expensive in fees. I was a heavy smoker and quite a heavy guy.

‘I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad goodbye or a bad goodbye, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.’ Holden Caulfield

I visited my ex-history teacher, Mr Spencer, in the cold. Spencer managed to get a bargain on a carpet purchase and I (Holden) was impressed. The principal told me that life was a game and that I should play by the rules. I was 16 and had already been to 4 schools. I could sense Mr Spencer was going to lecture me. My results were horrendous and I was failing almost everything. He reprimanded me for failing History without reading the text. Mr Spencer was being sarcastic in his tone as he read my essay out loud. I gave him a bunch of bullshit when he asked me what would I do in his shoes. I left Elkton Hills because it was surrounded by phonies and mean people. . The headmaster was very judging and would only talk to people who were good looking. Spencer was again being depressing and rude. A part of me felt sorry was the state he was in.

I lied to Spencer about needing to leave because I wanted to gym. I’m a huge liar. My roommate was Ossenburger and he liked to preach. Herb Gale (Ackley) was a disgusting guy with a bad personality. He liked to pick up people’s personal belongings and made people repeat what they said twice. I could be very sarcastic and mean towards him as well. Stradlater had a date and couldn’t join them. Ackley hated Stradlater and called him a son of a bitch. Suddenly, Stradlater entered the room. He wanted to borrow my jacket because his was stained. He was handsome and had a good bod. He asked for a favor and I obliged to help. It turns out that I had to write an essay for him. I started tap dancing for no reason. I grabbed him by the neck as I was pissed. It turns out that he was dating Jean Gallagher. I happened to know her dog and that she loved dancing. Her parents were divorced. Instinctively, I wanted to head downstairs and say hi to her. Stradlater wasn’t that nosy but Ackley was. He was a nosy little bastard

The steaks served were horrible and too hard. Mal Brossard and I decided to catch a movie. Ackley joined as well. Ackley was a terribly boring guy who liked to repeat the same stories. I finally started on Stradlater’s composition and eventually finished it. I wrote about my brother, Allie’s, baseball mitt. He passed away from leukemia. He was the nicest and most intelligent person in my family.

‘Finally Ackley came over and asked me who was going to the movies besides me. He always had to know who was going. I swear, if that guy was shipwrecked somewhere, and you rescued him in a goddamn boat, he’d want to know who the guy was that was rowing before he’d even get in.’ Holden Caulfield

Stradlater was back from his date. He didn’t mention about Jane at all. It was no surprise that he had a huge ego and liked how he looked. I tore the essay up after he criticized it. I purposely smoked in his dorm even though I knew it was illegal. The both of them sat in the car during the date. All the athletics bastards stick together. I started fighting with him suddenly. However, he was too strong and overpowering. After he released me, I called him a moron and he hit me again. I lost the fight and I was bleeding from the nose. Still, I was in a mad rage over Stradlater.

Ackley was awake late at night. Ackley realized that Stradlater and I fought. I slept on Ely’s bed that night as he was away for the night. Stradlater was the kind of guy who liked to have sex with girls. I asked Ackley what it took to join a monastery. I felt sad and lonesome and wanted to get out of Pencey immediately. I packed my stuff. Then I was off in the middle of the night. My plan was to stay in a cheap motel in New York for a short while. I was out.

I walked to the station in the cold. I didn’t know anyone around me. In the train, I didn’t want to do anything. A woman, approximately 45 years old, sat beside me. Her son was Ernest Morrow, my classmate in Pencey. I lied about my real name and the fact was that Ernest was a perk in school. Ernest was extremely sensitive. We began smoking on the train. She was a charming lady. I praised Ernest and soon she was glued to her seat. The problem was that Ernie was shy. You stay a rat your whole life.

‘You take somebody’s mother, all they want to hear about is what a hot-shot their son is.’ Holden Caulfield

I wanted to call someone on the phone but didn’t know who to dial. Sally came to mind. She was an old friend of mine. I took a cab to Edmont Hotel and wanted to stay overnight for 2 nights. The hotel was full of perverts and weirdos. A couple were squirting water all over each others’ face and they thought it was cool. I often broke my sex rules. I called Faith Cavendish, she was a friend’s friend. I gave her my real name, Holden Caulfield. Immediately, I suggested that we meet for cocktails. As it was late, it was difficult for us to get a cocktail. Eventually, we didn’t meet because she wasn’t free.

‘I think if you don’t really like a girl, you shouldn’t horse around with her at all, and if you do like her, then you’re supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it.’ Holden Caulfield

I wanted to call my little sister but would’nt want my parents finding out where I was. I was the dumbest guy in the family. The problem with Phoebe was that she was too emotional. There was a club downstairs and I wanted to see what it was like. The band was crappy too. I approached their table and asked them whether any of them would like to dance. The blonde one agreed and soon we were off. It turns out that she was a greater dancer. Apparently she didn’t how I was talking to her. I started to like her. It was very difficult to engage them in an intellectual conversation. The three girls kept looking for movie stars to enter the bar.

‘That’s the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. Girls. They drive you crazy. They really can.’ Holden Caulfield

‘There isn’t any night club in the world you can sit in for a long time unless you can at least buy some liquor and get drunk. Or unless you’re with some girl that really knocks you out.’ Holden Caulfield

I called Jane Gallagher on the phone. I knew Stradlater gave her the time in the car. She was knew a funny gal, which I liked. I hated those people who only talked to you when they wanted something off you. Suddenly, she started crying and I had to comfort her. We never necked or horsed around. We held hands in the cinema. Once, she placed her hand at the back of my neck and damn it felt good. I boarded a cab and headed to Ernie’s. It was another night club. Ernie was a guy who could play the piano damn well and I wanted to hear him.

I wanted to know what happened to the ducks in Central Park during winter. The driver was a touchy guy and I dropped the topic. Ernie didn’t play well that day but people went mad. I managed to order alcohol at Ernie’s. I was surrounded by jerks. Lillian Simmons once dated my brother D.B. and she came over to chat with me. She was dating a Navy guy. I left because I hated the crowd.

‘I’m always saying “Glad to have met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.’ Holden Caulfield

I walked all the way back to the hotel. I was depressed and wanted to have another drink. The lobby was all empty. One guy wanted to bring a gal over to my room late in the night. I agreed. I am a virgin. Usually, when I want to do it with a gal, the gal will ask me to stop. I will do just that. Most guys won’t stop. I wanted to get some practice in case I was married in future. The prostitute had a green dress underneath. She was very nervous for a prostitute. She pulled the dress over her head. I wasn’t turned on by that, strangely. I wanted to talk to her more than have sex with her. She didn’t really want to chat and wanted to get on with it. Honestly, I was more depressed than sexy. I paid her and then she left. It was all so depressing.

I started talking to myself. I hated the Disciples in the Bible and didn’t feel like praying right now. I didn’t visit church very much. Someone knocked on my door. It was Maurice, the guy who introduced the prostitute to me. The problem was that I only paid Sunny 5 bucks when she wanted 10. Maurice shoved me. Initially, Maurice agreed that the price would be 5 bucks. Now, he was going against his word. Sunny took another 5 bucks from my wallet. The problem was that Maurice was still pissed at me. I insulted Maurice and he hit me. I stayed in the bathroom for about an hour. Now, I felt like committing suicide.

I didn’t sleep for long at all. I smoked another cigarette in my room. I called Sally. Her parents answered the phone. We arranged to meet later that day. I had breakfast and realized that I spent a lot of money in the past 2 weeks. People cared about what suitcases others carried. I started talking to 2 nuns. They gave me 10 bucks for carrying these suitcases. We started talking about books. The thing is that I really enjoyed conversing with them. Thankfully, the nuns didn’t ask whether I was a Catholic before they left.

The nuns were thrifty people and I liked that. A boy on the street started singing ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye’. I felt much better. I entered a record store and planned to get ‘Little Shirley Beans’ for my sister. I bought tickets to a theatre performance for Sally. Phoebe wasn’t at the park. I tried the Museum of Natural History. She wasn’t in the museum too and I went for my date with Sally. She looked great. I confessed that I liked her.

‘You kept wondering what the hell would happen to all the girls when they got out of school and college, I mean. You figured most of them would probably marry dopey guys. Guys that always talk about how many miles they get to a gallon in their goddamn cars. Guys that get sore and childish as hell if you beat them at golf, or even just some stupid game like ping-pong. Guys that are very mean. Guys that never read books. Guys that are very boring… I don’t understand boring guys.’ Holden Caulfield

‘All that crap they have in cartoons and all, showing guys on street corners looking sore as hell because their dates are late – that’s bunk. If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she’s late? Nobody.’ Holden Caulfield

‘If you do something too good, then, after a while, if you don’t watch it, you start showing off. And then you’re not as good anymore.’ Holden Caulfield

Sally and her friend George was having some phony conversation which I couldn’t stand. We went ice skating after the theatre. She wanted to look all pretty and stuff. I admitted to her I hated school very much. I hated how everything in New York was, how phony the people were etc. I hated the cliques that people formed with one another. I suggested to her that we head to a Greenwich village. She rejected this crazy proposal and I shouted at her. To comfort her, I promised to get a job after our proposed ‘vacation’. I was convinced that in future when we were all working, things wouldn’t be the same anymore. She blew up after I told her she was depressing. I wasn’t behaving coherently and it was partly my fault for suggesting a ridiculous vacation.

I had a Swiss cheese sandwich and I felt like dancing with Jane. I called Carl Luce. The show I watched was atrocious. The Army was full of bastards.

‘The trouble with girls is, if they like a boy, no matter how big a bastard he is, they’ll say he has an inferiority complex, and if they don’t like him, no matter how nice a guy he is, or how big an inferiority complex he has, they’ll say he’s conceited. Even smart girls do it.’ Holden Caulfield

The Wicked Bar is some swanky hotel in NY. Luce knew a lot about sex. The intellectual guys like him didn’t want to discuss anything intellectual unless they felt like it. He admitted he liked Chinese girls more than Western gals. My questions to him were too personal and he didn’t take too kindly to them. Now, he didn’t want to go after a few drinks at a bar.

Valencia was the singer at the bar but left after her shift was over. I was dead drunk when I left the bar. I dialed Sally up late in the night and she could tell I was drunk. She didn’t want me over at her place. I had a conversation with the piano player in the restroom for a while. He was like Stradlater. Now, I was depressed and all so lonesome. I was seriously upset and walked to the park to visit the ducks. Accidentally, I dropped Phoebe’s record and it shattered. I walked around the park but didn’t see any ducks. It was bitterly cold and my teeth were chattering. I imagined myself dying and the people who would visit me at my funeral. Although I had a few nickels, I threw them into the pond. Now, I decided to go home.

I opened my house door quietly. I got to Phoebe’s room finally. I flipped open her book in her room. I woke her up and she exclaimed ‘Holden!’ I promised her that I could go to her play. My parents weren’t in thankfully. She guessed that I was kicked out from school and made a big hooha. She kept a pillow over her head and refused to budge.

‘It’s funny. You take adults, they look lousy when they’re asleep and have their mouths way open, but kids don’t. Kids look all right. They can even have spit all over their pillow and they still look all right.’ Holden Caulfield

Now, she was ostracizing me after she removed the pillow. Just like how the fencing team did to me when I left their foils on the subway. It was a stinky school with phonies. I explained that to Phoebe. That’s why I wanted out. She lamented that I didn’t like anything. I couldn’t think of anything I liked. I only liked the two nuns and a boy who was bullied and committed suicide.

‘Just because someone’s dead, you don’t stop liking them, for God’s sake – especially if they were about a thousand times nice than the people you know that’re alive and all.’ Holden Caulfield

‘Lawyers are all right, but they don’t appeal to me. They’re all right if they go around saving innocent guys’ lives. But you don’t do that kind of stuff if you’re a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of money and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. And besides, even if you did go around saving guy’s lives, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys’ lives, or because you did it because you really wanted to be a terrific lawyer, with everyone slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the trial is over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the movies? How would you know you weren’t being a phony? The trouble is, you wouldn’t.’ Holden Caulfield

If a body meet a body coming through the rye. I would like to the catcher in the rye, and prevent small kids from running off the cliff.

I called Mr Antolini, my previous teacher. He was one of the best teachers I ever had. He was the one who carried James Castle to the infirmary. Phoebe and I started dancing. Suddenly, I heard the door moving and my parents were back. I realized it was the best time to leave now. She lent me some money since I was out of cash and I cried.

I visited Mr Antolini. He expressed concern over my results in school. I had a real bad headache then. I like it when people digresses in a speech. He explained what kind of fall I was undergoing. It was mainly because the environment couldn’t provide what I was looking for. He wanted to write me something. ‘Your first move will be to apply yourself in school…You’re in love with knowledge…’. I was so sleepy and soon feel asleep although the conversation was interesting. Find the size of your mind. Suddenly he touched my head in the middle of the night, scaring him. I realized all of a sudden that I needed to leave and so I left.

‘I mean is, lots of time you don’t know what interests you most till you start talking about something that doesn’t interest you most. I mean you can’t help it sometimes. You’re supposed to leave somebody alone if he’s at least being interesting and he’s getting all excited about something. I like it when that happens. It’s nice.’ Holden Caulfield

‘The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.’ Wilhelm Stekel

‘You’re going to start getting closer and closer to where you want to go, if you want to, and if you look for it and wait for it – to the kind of information that will be very, very dear to your heart. You’re by no means alone on the score that you have been sickened by human behavior, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Men as troubled as you have kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. It isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.’ Mr Antolini

‘It is not true that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. But such educated men who are brilliant and creative to begin with, tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind than those who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly and usually have a passion for following their thoughts to the end.’ Mr Antolini

I didn’t where to go and I was depressed again. I contemplated returning to his house, just that I found that he panted me incredibly weird. I thought I had cancer. It was a Monday. While wondering around, I tried locating the two nuns. I decided to just venture to the West and find a new job and start afresh without anyone recognizing me. I wanted to pretend to be a deaf-mute so that no one would have useless conversations with me. After buying a notebook from a stationary shop, I headed to her school to drop her the farewell note. In the school, I rubbed out the words ‘Fuck you’ on the wall. I left the note with one of the teachers in the school. Two boys asked me where the mummies were while I waited for my sister. I passed out when I was in the toilet. Thankfully, it didn’t hurt much. Suddenly, I saw my sister dragging a huge suitcase. She wanted to go with me. She was insistent while I was in shock. She cried as I didn’t want her to follow me. Phoebe refused to head to school. In a twist, now she didn’t want to be in the play anymore. I told her I changed my mind about running away and she just ran across the street without looking at traffic. I didn’t follow her. Deep inside me, I knew she had to follow me and follow me she did. We headed to the zoo. My sister didn’t talk to me at all as she was sore. She rode on the carousel alone while I waited for her. Now, she wasn’t mad at me anymore. It started pouring heavily. Even though I was drenched, I was so damn happy to see my sister enjoying herself.

I did indeed go back to school the next semester. But I won’t be talking about it. D.B, my brother, came to visit. He was alright. The thing is I missed those who I told them about the above story, like Stradlater and Ackley.

catcher-in-the-rye