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Day 16 – What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG)

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

WYSIWYG (wizzywig) is an acronym for what you see is what you get.“ It became popular with early computer printers of the 1980’s, meaning that the printout closely resembled what one was viewing on the monitor. That seems obvious today, but back in the computer dark ages, printing was quite primitive. This saying may have been originally coined by Flip Wilson in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, when he played “Geraldine” in the 1960’s. During the following years, several musicians included various versions of this same phrase in their songs–Hall and Oates, Tina Turner, Britney Spears and others. I’ve oftentimes heard people use the expression to indicate that they have nothing to hide, they are upfront people, they lay it all out there. I see myself, however, as more complex than that.

I prefer to flip the phrase around to “what you get is what you see.” Or in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

A perfect example of this lies outside my window. We’ve had an extreme cold spell in the Midwest with wind chills hovering close to -20 degrees. I can choose to moan & groan about being bored and stuck indoors or I can choose to use this shut-in time to start a craft in the basement, binge-watch Orange is the New Black, or work on my new Lego puzzle.

The first time I abstained from alcohol, it was for 9 months; thirty-six miserable, white-knuckle weeks. I “got” exactly what I “saw”, which were denial and deprivation; consequently I was filled with anger and resentment. At some point the buzzer kicked on and I realized that I have the ability to change my perception, thus my experience. I can embark on an abstinence period by seeing it as a growth experience. I can plan ahead, dig in and sell a few shoes (more on shoes later…)

There are so many positive things about abstaining, your imagination is your limit. I have learned to enjoy going to drinking events, silently abstaining and proudly serving as designated driver. I’m an introvert by nature, so drinking is the bait that lubricates my social skills. While abstaining, I can immerse myself in my introvertedness without guilt, engaging selectively, people-watching and enjoying the moment. It’s a different experience from drinking & engaging, but just as fun once I “saw it.”

When some of us drink, our personalities change a little (or a lot) so we use that change as a crutch to make things easier, better or just different. We lose site of the fact that our sober selves can create a unique experience too. As a child growing up, my siblings and I would never dare complain that we were bored or my mother would think of chores for us to do. With that thought, an attitude adjustment on our parts would quickly follow, we weren’t so bored after all when things were placed into perspective. Gosh, we could ride our bikes, play games, look for hidden treasures. We really do have the ability to change how we look at a moment (or even a month).

Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market potential.

The first salesman reported back, “There is no potential here – nobody wears shoes“

The second salesman reported back, “There is massive potential here – nobody wears shoes“


Post submitted by: Bee Brown, Member of MM