Rev. January 2017.
My blog at www.ajuicylessonperday.net has been up and running for over two weeks now and some 30% of the people who have viewed it have gone to About Jerry and to My Mission only to have been greeted by, before Sunday’s JuicyLesson (#48) at least, blank pages. Sunday’s JuicyLesson (About Jerry) took care of one of these blank pages and today’s will take care of the other one. So without further ado, here is My Mission.
I got my inspiration for my blog from the 2009 comedy-drama “Julie and Julia” in which Amy Adams’ character aims to cook the 524 recipes in celebrity-chef Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) first book in 365 days. I think she was successful but can’t be bothered to look it up and that’s not the point.
The idea has stuck with me since I saw the film just after it was released. My mission began with the idea to create one JuicyLesson per day for a whole year; that amounts to one-a-day, six days a week, with Saturdays off, roughly 313 JuicyLessons in total. Quite an ambitious project if I do say so myself.
I began posting the JuicyLessons on my Facebook page (Jerry Cohen) all the time thinking about starting a blog which I obviously did. I don’t believe my posts are appropriate for a social medium that Facebook is. As my good friend Jock Best said: “I’m not particularly interested in what people had for lunch, or with whom they ate it.” Same here. I find Facebook kind of irrelevant to my life. I care about my ex-students a lot but I don’t really care to see picture after picture of their kids.
That being said, I started on Facebook with my first post on September 9th, 2013, because that was the only medium available to me at the time. I don’t even think I knew what a blog was then, but I have sure learned fast. I had intended to only provide a link to each JuicyLesson on FB, but decided – with some input from Loren Lann, one of my old students, and Aron Black who did such a great job designing my website to continue posting my JuicyLessons on Facebook. Good publicity? That remains to be seen.
The first two or three (the third lesson is lost) were exceedingly short, less than thirty words each (guessing here) but where is the challenge in that? My lessons are mostly 500 words at least, while many of them are over one thousand words. (FYI this one is a little more than 800 words.) My goal in writing these lessons is basically to make my readers think and to maintain their interest in my writing.
There are eight categories so far including politics, political philosophy, philosophy, current events, life lessons, autobiographical material, sports, and something I call Heroes and Nothings. Whatever strikes my fancy from what I think about to what I feel will interest you, my readers. I am a good teacher and you are good learners; sometimes, depending on the comments and/or feedback I get, our roles are reversed, that is you become the teacher, I the learner.
Let’s have a look at my blog logo (see picture): it’s a skeleton on a motorcycle because I think the skeleton looks cool and I love bikes, always have. Even rode them for twenty-five years.** The Latin in the logo “Noli cedere cognoscere” means never stop learning which, in itself, is a great life lesson for anyone regardless of how old you are.
** I am now back riding after an absence from 2003 (accident) to 2014, a seemingly unending 11 years. It was mostly my ex’s fears which kept me down for that long. She, up until my accident, loved my bikes, Honda 1100 cc Shadow. She loved riding on the back, looking at all kinds of cycles and talking about them. She was an excellent passenger, day-dreaming away.
But following my accident, her attitude changed 100% summarized by a comment she made while taking me for a stroll in a wheelchair in downtown Montreal, while heading for the Alouette Steak House, sur la rue Ste-Catherine a Montréal. Upon noticing me examining a bike parked by the side of the road, she said : “Every time I look at a bike, I see you in pain”. Wow.
In 2014, I went out and bought a Harley Trike, pictured. A bomb of a bike at 1100 lbs, 103 ” cu, 1690 cc., love it. The first words out of Lee’s mouth when I told her that I had purchased a bike behind her back were : “How could you do that to me?” She didn’t want to know but eventually reconciled herself to the situation because she said that there was nothing she could do about it.
We were having problems and the bike may have helped break us up. I bought the bike in June 2014, told Lee about it the same month, her lovely mom, Betty Boop, passed away in July, and by October, Lee was gone. Too bad. Huge loss and big adjustment, for both of us, I imagine, I certainly know that it has been a difficult transition period for me.
I asked for feedback about the logo after it had been designed and got more than I expected. Some women commented that the blog was crying out to be “girled up”, hence the roses. Other feedback included remarks to the effect that the blog needed something to show that I have made my mark as a teacher, hence the ‘Live to teach. Teach to live’ on the logo which has been lifted directly from the Hells Angels motto ‘Live to ride. Ride to live’. The same goes for ‘Love to learn. Learn to love’ which appears to the right of the logo and which works on a couple of levels. The fact that these two manifestos reflect back on the Hells, provides an additional rationale for both the bike in my logo as well as the skeleton.
The gear which backgrounds the biker and the bike is a nice touch I think. It sort of says ‘Don’t give me the gears’, in other words don’t try to mess me up, don’t mislead or lie to me; make a serious attempt to listen to and understand what I have to say. Feel free to disagree with any idea I present on my site – as a matter of fact, any feedback is appreciated ^^ – but read each day’s lesson through with an open mind before ‘taking pen in hand’. Think about what you do before you do it in other words, which is another excellent life lesson with which to start.
^^ Racist, sexist, etc. posts, threats, and anonymous comments will neither be tolerated nor approved for publication, however.
Feedback from Jill Taub, Adina Arazi, and Zol Nagy, among others, energizes me and keeps me going now, when my juicies are less regular and when I need a kick in the butt to get going.