Casual Friday – I Had A Dream

The Real Canadian Superstore adjacent to South...Have you ever tried to phone the Real Canadian Superstore? Let me save you some time. They are not in the phone book under the white pages, neither are they under any of the ordinary denominations in the yellow pages. That’s power. They don’t even need to let you get in touch with them. They know you’ll still come shop there. That arrogance is amazing. So after I finally found a number under pharmacy, I asked when they are open. The nameless automaton on the other end of the phone only said, “the regular hours”. Regular hours. The guy just knows I already know when they are open. And the sick part was, I did. That’s power. That’s arrogance.

They could care less if you like them. They have you and they know it. I despise that attitude. I hate the idea that someone has control over me. I want to believe I am in charge of my own destiny – that my decisions, not some power monger, determine my life. Of course on the same hand I like to play the victim so I have someone to blame when those decisions don’t turn out. I want to control my life – but I don’t want to be blamed for it. I also need to believe that I matter. With their cattle lines and impersonal service Superstore reminds me every week that I do not.

At the time of this writing I have been living with a decision I made some time ago to step out of the limelight. Since adolescence I have been a showman, craving the spotlight, performing for the crowds. Obviously I would have never admitted such a thing so overtly before, I spoke in altruistic platitudes about using a certain temperament or gifting or opportunity. Looking back it amounts to virtually the same thing.I have, from youngest years, believed I would be significant. There was always this carrot of notoriety just outside my grasp. I spoke yesterday of desperately trying to fit it. So much of what motivated me stemmed from this insane need to be ‘someone’. So much of my personality was wrapped up in this subtle egoism. That is not to say that I do not struggle anymore with obscurity. Every time I sit down at this computer to write I question my motivations. I can feel that snake coiling just beneath the surface, even now. Stepping away from full-time public speaking has been the best and most frustrating journey I have ever been on. I would contend that I have learned more about myself and my world in this time than in any other period of my life.I have found obscurity.Perhaps it is more accurate to say that I have finally admitted to myself that I am ordinary and unimportant by almost every societal barometer that matters in prevalent society. It’s ok, you don’t have to encourage me, I’m fine.

This has been good for me. It reminds me of those lines from one of my favorite ‘B’ movies, The Replacements, when Keanu Reeves, a replacement quarterback is confronted by the spoiled and arrogant star quarterback of the pro team who he has just replaced:
Eddie Martel: This doesn’t change anything Falco! I’m still an All-Pro quarterback with two Superbowl rings. You’ll never be anything more than a replacement player.
Shane Falco: Yeah. Yeah, I can live with that.

We all need to come to grips with who we are, not who we pretend to be. It’s tempting to spend your life chasing after something only to find out that when you get it, it really wasn’t what you needed after all.

Close to his death Martin Luther King preached his famous sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct”. As usual, he said it better than I ever could…

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402“Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize. That isn’t important.Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards. That’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to love somebody. I want you to say the day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. Yes, if you want to say that I was a ‘drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. That I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won’t have any money to leave behind. I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that’s all I want to say.”

5 thoughts on “Casual Friday – I Had A Dream

  1. When I was five, I dreamt that I would speak like Martin Luther King. I have spoken in front of large crowds. I have worked at a few of the largest companies in the world. I have thousands of contacts on my Linkedin profile. But those things don’t matter. They give you a sense of false security. They eat away your time. Sometimes it’s tempting to go back, but I chose to ask, “What Else?” It’s enough to be ordinary, to laugh with friends, to enjoy a BigMac, to play with nieces and nephews, to read a good book, to discover what is truly significant.

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