The Best of Company

Mermaid-ManateeEveryone makes mistakes, even the very wisest and most successful among us. Most of the time, thankfully, there are no witnesses.

I was reading “today in history” this morning and I came across one that made me laugh. On this day in 1493, Christopher Columbus was sailing near the Dominican Republic. He saw three “mermaids”–in reality manatees–and described them as “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

It’s okay Chris, we can relate.

How many times have I learned, years later, that I’ve been singing the wrong lyrics to that song I know so well?  How many times have I done something out of habit only to find out I was wasting a whole lot of time in the process?  Answer:  Many times.

The thing about making mistakes is that, from them, we learn.  Many of the greatest inventions were “mistakes”…

Sir Alexander Fleming was a scientist who was trying to find a wonder drug.  Rather than find it in his lab, he found it in the trash. Fleming noticed that a contaminated Petri dish he had discarded contained a mold that was dissolving all the bacteria around it. When he grew the mold by itself, he learned that it contained a powerful antibiotic, penicillin.

John Hopps, an electrical engineer, was conducting research on hypothermia and was trying to use radio frequency heating to restore body temperature. In the course of his experimenting, he invented the pacemaker.

An unnamed Canon engineer  accidentally rested his iron on his pen, ink was ejected from the pen’s point a few moments later. This principle led to the creation of the inkjet printer.

So the next time you make a mistake, remember Christopher Columbus redeemed himself…his voyages led him to discover the “New World”.    I rather doubt people said much to him about the mermaids…after all, they still believed the world was flat.

Like I said…we’re in the best of company.





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