I often see on Facebook postings by friends, typically former students, who are chasing various dreams and life goals that many would perceive as unrealistic rather than settling for something less. They inspire me and give me hope. Reading one such post recently reminded me of a speech I gave a few years back at a banquet at the University of Toledo for English majors who had won various department-sponsored creative writing awards.
These are just a few of the many potentially-awful things that didn’t happen to me today, and I want to tell the universe, “Thanks for nothing!”
I’m not what you would call a dog person. I never have been. I didn’t think I ever would be. I have never had anything against dogs nor their owners, and I totally understand and appreciate the relationships and close attachments many folks have with their dogs. I just have never felt the need for a dog in my life.
My dad didn’t give much fatherly advice or really even talk to me that much, but he did model the one unspoken but ironclad promise I made to my own sons when they were children: “I promise I will be there when you go to bed each night, and I promise I will be there when you get up in the morning.
As a typically overly-sensitive middle child (In my case the 4th of 8 siblings) and as a person of nondescript features and average talents, I’ve related to and struggled with this notion of wanting/needing to be seen and validated all of my life. I know. It sounds a bit pathetic. But I don’t think I’m all that rare in my need.
We are approaching an inflection point in the American experiment with democracy, and the whole world and posterity is watching. It’s time we return the zealots to the periphery and find common ground in moderation. If we do not, I fear for my grandchildren. Will we leave them one indivisible nation or has that ship of a united state already sailed? Either we “learn to fly” above our political differences or we may fall from the nest and break our wings on the hard ground of factional partisanship.
Most societies have long maintained strict definitions regarding gender assignation, but many are rolling with the changes and slowly opening their minds to what philosophers, artists, psychologists, rock and rollers, and openminded folks have long intuited, argued, and demonstrated: To limit the designation of gender to anatomy is both simpleminded and false.
At the end of the day and a life, perhaps it’s such seemingly simple things/accomplishments as “a woman who knows my name” that matter the most, not the big dreams that fell short or didn’t come true at all. You may never throw a ringer, but throw the horseshoe anyway.
Sadly, most of us assign our personal prejudices to names and make a number of false assumptions based upon them.
I do not judge or begrudge in any way those who choose to fly first class nor can I guarantee I will never fly that way again. As I often say, a person can get used to anything. For now, all I can say for certain is that on my first first-class flight, I felt like a little boy wearing a grown man’s suit. I did not like the fit.