Note #2: Innocence

note-2Another note that surfaced, this one actually dated: 1/17/79. Apparently, for some reason, I was moved to jot down a personal definition of innocence (as opposed to incense, which is defined by smell rather than words).

“Innocence: Trusting first rather than mistrusting. Thinking someone is right first rather than wrong.”

Sadly, tragically, life has a way of destroying that trust and changing that thinking.

On the note’s flip side…

Apparently I had an idea about an art work involving dominoes (the game pieces, not the pizza pie). I do sort of remember considering a print series involving dominoes. The idea was that they’d be pretty to look at and would contain interesting math sequences.


Best laid plans, etc. I always was more of a designer and dreamer than a dedicated, devoted doer. The idea or design was always the real point — solving the challenges and puzzles involved.

The actual doing… meh. That’s just busy work.

And, yes, I have horrible handwriting. I know.

Think of it… a piece of paper (cardboard, actually) that I’ve been carting around for over 37 years! That includes the move from California to here; in 1979 I was just out of college and working in my dad’s graphic design shop. It wasn’t until a year later I got the job with The Company.

Now I can finally throw that piece of stuff away (along with many, many others not worthy of mention or archival).


About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

10 responses to “Note #2: Innocence

  • Jamie

    i like your print idea. i think it would be a huge hit!!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Really? How so? (I wish I could remember exactly what I had in mind!)

      I do have a couple of other art projects that have been gathering dust for a long time. I have nearly every ticket stub of every movie or concert I went to for decades. Always thought that would make a cool collage.

  • Steve Morris

    The challenge, then, is to strive to maintain that innocence.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      By addressing which side of the equation? Maintaining innocence in the face of how the world really works seems to require living in a bubble or suffering the Weltschmerz.

      Or are you suggesting changing the world to make realistic innocence possible?

      • Steve Morris

        I’m suggesting changing your outlook to recover an attitude that was clearly once held. Your definition is about the self.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        My point is that it’s like recovering a belief in Santa Claus. It’s not an outlook based on reality. So there’s a question of consequences of that outlook.

      • Steve Morris

        I believe it’s the subject of the movie Groundhog Day.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I suppose one could see it that way. I see Phil Connors growing into being a better person, but that feels to me more like evolution forward than a return to a child-like state of innocence. Matter of interpretation, I suppose.

        I do love that movie! It’s in my All-Time Top 25 Faves. Phil spends years living that one day and gains a kind of omniscience about the townspeople — he becomes almost god-like. He has the opportunity to refine his every action, hone away every tiny mistake (we’re shown the beginnings of that, the puddle, his attempts to woo Rita). And it’s interesting to think about the end of the movie from the point of view; they’ve only known him for one day! (It does make the piano teacher’s line at the end ring a bit odd, though. That line has always tweaked me just a little.)

        In a sense, Groundhog Day is similar to A Christmas Carol. A redemption theme, the story of a man facing up to his mistakes in life and changing his behavior for the better. (One of my favorite story themes, in fact!)

        But I’m not sure I perceive Scrooge or Connors becoming “older and wiser” as a return to innocence. The latter seems more, as I’ve said, going backwards to a state of willful ignorance rather than moving forward with better understanding.

        In the real world, not everyone is trustworthy or right. It’s good to be biased towards thinking that, but wise to be aware of betrayal.

        But I dunno. Maybe we’re arriving at the same goal from different directions?

      • Steve Morris

        I was embracing the tone of your original note from long ago. Perhaps it is moving forward in wisdom, perhaps recovering a lost state of mind. Either way, it’s about hoping for the best in others rather than fearing the worst.

        I think that’s what both Scrooge and Connors have to do. Neither can change the world before they change their own asumptions. And yeah, one of my all-time favourites too!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I think the “tone” you’re embracing may come as much from your own point of view as from the note. From what I could tell, you were making a value judgement (innocence is a desirable state) not reflected in the text.

        I say that as the note’s author, so I have a modicum of inside knowledge. 🙂

        The intended reading would be more along the lines that innocence is like puppies, kittens, and babies. Or flowers. Beautiful while it lasts. But it can’t. And probably shouldn’t. Something more (wisdom, experience, growth) is vital.

        We can certainly, absolutely agree that a positive approach, hoping for the best in anything, is fundamental to being a better person!

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