Defining Moment: Vuvuzelas


The Defining Moments series looks back at the biggest events of 2010 to see what we can learn from them here at P&P, to work better in our calling, in 2011 and beyond.

The 19th FIFA World Cup began in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 11, 2010. It was a great celebration of the worlds most popular sport. It was held in a nation still climbing from the shadowy history of apartheid. It gave to the world a psychic octopus, the butterfingers of Robert Greene, and the Spanish team captain and his TV-presenter girlfriend. Oh yes, and some good games, too. But more than anything else, it gave the world vuvuzelas.

Ah, vuvuzelas. Do you remember
this clip from 1994s “Dumb and Dumber? Jim Carrey seems to have been prophetic in his rendition of “the most annoying noise in the world.

All World Cup coverage had a constant sonic peculiarity: in the background of every minute of every game there was a loud, monotonous note blown out of thousands of long plastic horns. These were the vuvuzelas of 2010. They were not newly invented for the World Cup, certainly, but it was the first time most of the world had been introduced to them.

They got plenty of news coverage. It was impossible to dub over them, so they had to be addressed somehow. Discovery News investigated vuvuzelas to try to discover why they were so grating.

Will It Blends great Tom Dickson took another approach to handle the issue. I prefer his.

But what does this tell us? What do we take into 2011 from the evil horns of the summer of 2010? Heres what Ive got for you. You don’t know what will annoy you next.

Now, you can take that in a negative way and turn into a Chicken Little: “theres something horrible around the next corner, “my life will never be perfect. But thats not useful, its not true, and it doesnt serve any purpose.

Think about it this way: appreciate the vuvuzela-free moments in life – and even the vuvuzelas, when youve got them.

The pharma industry is nothing if not eventful. This isnt a boring place to be, and it isnt a boring time to be here. Sure, you can always find something to complain about. But is that how you want to live? Youre going to have moments where theres a vuvuzela in your ear: something getting on your nerves in a real, solid, unavoidable way. So thank God on your knees if youre lucky enough not to be having one of those moments right now. And if you are? Well, that means youre at the World Cup, doesnt it?

This year, if things are going relatively smoothly, appreciate that gift, and everyone who made it possible. When unpleasant surprises do pop up, dont let them unnerve you. Dont lose track of all the good that got you to that point, try to see it as just part of the scenery if possible – and blend the &%!# out of that vuvuzela with a big grin on your face!




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