dreams of the young feed a growing ego. It is what makes us remember
childhood friends with tainted eyes. I know I would not want to
be judged for the 13 year old I once was, would you? In my life,
I have started digging a hole to China and only found the water
table. I have dreamed of chasing the wind and have ended up chasing
my own tale. I have stubbed my toes on fame more than once and
only ended up with bloody feet. When we are young we believe fame
is something that is honorable to seek. However as I have grown
older I have come to abhor the ego-feasts, they have left far
too many emotional scars.
This 'Flight from Fame' has a starting point, I was 16 and knew
everything about anything that mattered and I did not mind telling
anyone that at any time.
Dad had been elected to the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming,
Michigan. All the years of ski jumping and coaching had led to this
event. I took great pride in my father's accomplishments and it
was feast when he was named to the Hall of Fame. Dad and Mom drove
over to Ishpeming and they did not want us boys along so we were
left behind. I could not understand it at the time but two 16-year-old
boys in the car at the same time for 8 hours or so would be rough.
They came back home in the wee hours of the morning and they had
a good argument going. Mom kept telling Dad it was no big thing.
It seems they had spelled his name wrong on the Hall of Fame plaque.
In fact they spelled it wrong two times
His nickname was Snowball
not Snoball, but worst of all they spelt the last name wrong. They
put an 'e' on the end like a lot of our relatives do. Dad was livid.
It was as if they had gotten his record as a ski jumper wrong, which
is what they were honoring.
Being the sort of 16 year old I was, I got in the middle of it saying,
"If you tell them they misspelled it Dad they will change it
and fix it. That will make them feel as guilty as you are mad."
He went nuclear and had me up against a wall screaming at me, "You
will never tell them. I forbid you." He stormed off and took
a long walk.
How many hours of my life have I replayed this short scene? Mistakes
are made to learn from not to dwell in. I know why the name is spelled
differently. Family arguments cause a lot of things and I had more
than one relative that decided if they spelled their name different
from a brother, that they were no longer related. I know Dad dwells
in the meaning of the difference in the spelling and that it is
one of the things he holds onto about his father. Here I am waiting
for my own father to die so I can go correct a mistake; still more
of the bitter tasting heritage that we both inherited.
It is our ego and pride that stand between us. If all fame does
is feed the ego then it is not for me. My ego is fat enough without
others having to feed it. It is my father's pride and ego that bothers
me I guess, because when I stopped letting ego drive my life, I
freed my mind and spirit, which are allowing me to think and express
myself in the ways I do. Dad may have lived a 'good life' while
I am trying to live a 'life of good.'
Dad lives in a world were looks matter, where what others say and
believe matters. I do not live in that world. I live in a world
where I treasure beauty and inspiration. My family is the history
I cannot change. My life is the history I am living and I dream
of history to come.
Fame is bitterer for me than just my relationship with Dad. When
one accomplishes the best we can for the sake of merely accomplished
the best we can, and not as a form of competition with others, it
is a sure formula for ego-conflict. I may not have been in competition
with others, but they were with me. It is an ego kick in the teeth
to realize that the person you were trying to better did not even
realize you were competing with them; and when they win, bad blood
is easily born.
It is harder for others to manipulate us when we give up the ego-feasts
and practice ego-fasting. Our pride is the easiest way we are manipulated.
There is something far greater than us and our petty prides in this
take off your shoes and walk on the Good Earth. How
very much more wisdom has it born than to me? What a fool I would
be to compete with it, when I am simply a part of it and I take
my life's joy from this relationship.