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"Fools admire, while men of sense approve."
Which lapidary comment being explained meaneth, "you should try doing it before just gawping in amazement". Once you know a little yourself, you can appreciate other people's skills better.

The principle holds for just about everything: understanding enhances appreciation, so seize any chances of learning more about things that catch your attention.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to juggling by Mark Skipper, someone I met in Belgium; we were both working at the sort of company where his pony-tail and pearl-drop ear-ring were a breath of fresh air in an environment of wall-to-wall dark suit. Not to my surprise, I didn't get very far: I can move all of me quite deftly round a dance-floor, use hands, feet and hearing well enough to be a reasonably good motorcyclist, or unconsciously match fingers, tongue, breathing and eyes while playing the recorder, but when I tried to juggle I seemed to have been fitted with arms from two different people.

So the juggling never made much progress, but we became friends very quickly. Within hours of first meetings, the four of us – Chris and me, Mark and Magdalena – felt we'd all known each other for years.

Mark has many other skills I can approve, such as drawing and telling stories, plus a healthy and well-deserved reputation I can only admire in fields such as education and object-oriented software development. I'm really glad we met, and I'm enjoying following his activities now he's doing VSO in Africa and waiting to receive his doctorate.

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