Thursday, August 03, 2017

More Backtalking the Negativity

This is the meme that gave me the idea to do this as a series. I don’t know why I didn’t find it until now. Okay, actually, so I do—I’m terribly disorganized, and I’ve got a lot of closet/desk/housecleaning to do.

The timing works, however, because of two coincidental encounters this week which inspired another line of thought on this. My good friend James Robert Smith in North Carolina described a conversation he’d had with some younger people and how they were nonplussed when he mentioned the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. I’d had a similar encounter the previous weekend with a college student who did not recognize the name of the poet James Dickey, nor even recognize Dickey’s most infamous work, Deliverance

You probably don’t know either, and that’s fine. Suffice it to say Rodney Dangerfield and James Dickey were at the top of their respective professions in the latter half of the 20th century. They did great works, earned all the accolades. They inspired people, made them laugh. But only for a while. Now they’re the kind of people only the old people remember. And when us oldsters check out....

I’d say they’re better off than the Van Goghs who toil in obscurity and poverty all their days, only to find wealth and fame when they least need it, years after their deaths. You gotta do what you can while you’re here. 

Most of us, myself included, would be perfectly happy to be Rodney Dangerfield or James Dickey, earning money and love while we’re alive. We won’t care when we’re gone, so why should anyone else? Which brings us back to our most motivational demotivational meme, and why it’s so motivational after all. 

We’re not expected to be anyone or amount to anything at all. At least not beyond the necessarily limited and incomplete image others have of us...and if this doesn’t drive home why you shouldn’t care what most people think of you, then I don’t know how else to put it. 

The bottom line here is you’re free to screw up. This frees you to learn from your mistakes, get up one more time than you fall, and do what you have to do to get away from all the people busting your chops and putting you down.

Set yourselves free, people. Your haters have already opened the door of your cage for you. You can either stand there giving them what for, like they actually care what you think, or you can run out and away, with no more than a “Thanks” shouted over your shoulder, if that.

Of course, you could just live your life, marking time until you die, save everyone the trouble of forgetting you after you die. You’re forgotten either way, right? It’s up to you. That’s the beauty of it.