Friday, February 02, 2007

Pile of Wood

Suzuki-san travelled far to meet Koke-sensei, to learn the ways of stacking wood. She had heard the stories of the great wood stackers, their intricate patterns and their bright intelligence, and she wanted to follow in that path. Upon meeting Koke-sensei at the School of Wood Stacking, he said,

"All you must do," as he pointed to 100 logs, "is stack that wood."

For two years she worked at stacking the wood. Without any instruction, only studying the wood stacks that sprinkled the grove of the School of Wood Stacking, she was able to stack 40 logs in a precise manner, as the woodstackers before her.

Koke-sensei approached and said, "No longer does that wood interest me." He pointed to another pile of 100 logs, and said, "You must now stack this wood."

For two years she worked at stacking the wood. Without any instruction, only studying the wood stacks that sprinkled the grove of the School of Wood Stacking, she was able to stack 80 logs in a precise manner, as the woodstackers before her.

Koke-sensei approached and said, "We have a new student Suzuki-san. Please help Yamamoto-san with his stack."

For two years she worked at stacking the wood, helping and mentoring Yamamoto-san. Without any instruction, only studying the wood stacks that sprinkled the grove of the School of Wood Stacking, she and Yamamoto were able to stack all 100 logs in a precise manner, as the woodstackers before them. With all 100 completed in the stack, she was very joyful, ready to graduate from the School of Wood Stacking.

Koke-sensei approached and said, "Good Yamamoto-san. You may go." He turned to Suzuki-san and asked, "And what of your stack?"


And that, Mr. Clock, is why it takes so long.

8 comments:

kb said...

I can't think of anything to say to this but "So true." Sigh.

Tony Chang said...

What makes one person a Suzuki and another a Yamamoto?

doc-in-training said...

It's sad that it happens more often than it should.

Would Suzuki asking the master this question make a difference: What specific tasks I need to finish in order to get the hack out of here? (putting it nicer of course)

By the way, femaleCSGradStudent, you remain my favorite writer regarding this subject. Please keep it up.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

Doc-in-training: around here, the answer to that question is HA HA HA! We'll let you know when you get there.

And then the registrar wonders why it takes everyone so long. Seriously. They're doing a study!

FCSGS: Lurker, finally delurking to say hi, and yes, sigh. :)

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

Funny how many comments this little allegory generated.

kb: I, too, have been sighing a lot lately.

Tony Chang: I think that the Yamamotos are sometimes the Masters students, and sometimes the lucky folks who show up at the right time in the right topic. There are also the favorites in the group, who tend to get more attention than others. I've tried to be a Yamamoto, but I usually just get complimented on my nice handwriting and how "organised" I am.

doc-in-training: I've tried different approaches to get that "concrete list of things to do to graduate." The last answer for me was, "Well, I want 10 papers in the next 3 years." I wish I could find the right approach to get a more down-to-earth answer. Any tips?

Jenny F. Scientist: Thanks for delurking.

doc-in-training said...

femaleCSGradStudent: No, no suggestion. sorry... I'm learning here...

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

Hey doc-in-training. No worries. If you think of something, let me know. We can help each other out of this.

pluto said...

< Koke-sensei approached and said, "No longer does that wood interest me."

I love this story, and that bit of dialogue cracked me up.