Keep Calm
And Things Seem to Work Out

The British faced the onslaught of the Nazi invasion of their island nation. However, prior to the outbreak of WWII, the British government ordered the printing of three posters in an attempt to help the morale of the people after the war started. Nevertheless, they only used these two posters while holding the third one until it was really necessary.

British propaganda

The one poster that most people know is the Keep Calm and Carry On one, which was printed in the late summer of 1939. There were 2.5 million copies printed but wasn’t used until the following year.

This one was held in abeyance

One interesting note having to do with this one had to do with the debate at the time about whether its message, Keep Calm and Carry On, wasn’t a bit patronizing. Some commoners felt that the upper-class was talking down to them. Now, to be honest with you, my ethnic background is Scottish. The English, whether aristocracy or not, are more than a bit pretentious. Regardless, it did help the Brits to carry on with the British stiff upper lip while facing the German bombing of their homeland.

For this essay, I chose the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which was modified, and I think that it presents the message much better. This poster looks like it was in the midst of a battle.

This poster is relevant to me personally.

During the past year, I too was and still am engaged in my personal war. Granted, it is not close to what the Brits faced during WWII, but I can gain from them their recommendation to Keep Calm and Carry On in my own life as I face my battles. The following are the major battles in the past year or so.

  1. I live in a subdivision that the developer, in an attempt to save money, had sewers put in on the cheat. Much of the subdivision is located around a nice lake, which I named Lake La Mancha. However, nearly all of the sewer lines around the lake and many sewer lines to side streets needed to be replaced. About six millions of dollars have been or are being spent on digging up the sewers, some of which aren’t even a decade old. Every morning, Ginger and I circumnavigate the lake, which takes about an hour. The road around the lake is two and a half miles. We acquired the understanding the mess that digging up and replacing all the sewers made this year. Every day, I saw the mess that digging up the road and replacing the sewer lines made. It was an absolute mess for a year. Finally, they finished the road on the other side of the lake and have begun on the road on my side of the like. Day in and day out, huge diggers are digging up the road and reducing the defective sewer lines on my street. Due to the digging, I get my mail about twice a week. Had this multi-month mess been the only issue for me, I could have remained calm and carried on.

  2. However, Ginger, my two year old dog, has had some medical issues, which have been resolved. Nonetheless, dealing with her seasonal allergies, which she licked away her skin has been time consuming to deal with the medical issues and stressful worrying about my dog that I really love.

  3. In addition to Ginger’s medical problems, for more than a year, I have been overly tired…as in dead tired. I have had every medical test available. Finally, I was sent to a sleep doctor. After two sleepovers at his lab, he determined that I have sleep apnea coupled with restless leg syndrome. I got a CPAP and am taking meds for the restless leg syndrome. Six weeks after getting my CPAP, I’m not much better if at all. However, a representative happened to call me last week. He wanted to come by to see how my machine was working. I told him the machine was working fine, but I haven’t improved. In the process, I told him an issue that I had with my nasal pillow. His recommended changing the mask device. In addition, he wanted to run some additional tests like my oxygen in my blood levels. Like all the other issues, if taken singularly, it wouldn’t have been difficult to handle.

  4. I’m not halfway through my list of battles in my life. For several months, I have been in the beginning stages of setting up a not for profit charity called We Are Family in Myanmar, Inc. It is one of the situations where you hurry up to fill out paperwork but then have to wait for governmental approval. Finally, after jumping through numerous hoops, I’ve gotten incorporated.

  5. My next battle was that I wanted to work through an Internet fundraising company, which I would do the paperwork online so that tens of thousands of people can read about my request for $500,000 for 1250 laptops and improved Internet reception at the two schools my three granddaughters attend in Myanmar (Burma).
    I typed in the name of the not for profit charity’s name and how much money I needed. The very next page wanted my EIN, which is my employer’s identification number. In the material from the federal government, they provided my EIN. Well, that should be easy, and I typed in the numbers. Instantly, I’m informed that I needed an EIN. So, I retype the government’s number. Still it was rejected.

  6. I thought, if the fundraising company rejected my EIN, I would just call the company and tell them that I am looking at my EIN that they won’t accept as valid. The person helping me told me not to worry. I was told to call another company and signed in there, and they, in turn, would pass on their acceptance of me to the first company.

  7. Like a dutiful servant, I called the other company. Guess what, I found someone willing to help over the phone. However, a few minutes into my helper’s assistance, she said, I need to email a copy of a canceled check from We Are Family in Myanmar’s checking account. I told my helper that my bank will be sending the checks to me in a couple of days since I had already ordered them. She told me to her know when the checks arrive.

  8. I couldn’t do anything until the checks arrive. So, I waited and waited. Finally, two weeks later, I called my bank. They called corporate offices and discovered that they couldn’t find the checks or any record of them even being ordered. However, they would rush me the checks in the mail. Recall that daily mail delivery doesn’t occur due to the sewer repairs?

  9. I’m working on getting essays written about my charity. I’m doing videos to several people who could help me when I return to Myanmar in just over a year. Two people that most of you have heard of are Rod Stewart and Jacob Soboroff.

  10. All of this hurry up and wait dance that I’m doing is while I am still teaching two college humanities classes.

  11. Additionally, I write three essays per week on my website.

  12. Finally, if you came to my house, you would see a mess. There is a long list of various things that need to be repaired or just cleaned up. With construction for months on my street, can you imagine the dust that has covered everything.

All of these issues have piled up over the past year or more. I have some very clear choices to make when I address my multitude of battles. I can either quit, or I can “march into hell for a heavenly cause” to quote one of my mentors, Don Quixote.

Another mentor of mine is Randy Pausch who said during his Last Lecture, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough.”

Interestingly, if I keep calm and carry on, things seem to fall into place. Therefore, I have learned how to fight the battle of my life as the Brits fought their battles during WWII.

This video is presented by Ms. Claire Brenard who is the art curator at the Imperial War Museums.