Friday, March 12, 2021

A rock with your name on it 

I remember a place we went to on vacation when I was a kid. They sold souvenirs and one of the souvenirs you could buy was a rock with your name in it. There were many rocks with different names on them, arranged on a folding table, like a tiny pet cemetery. I wondered what would be the purpose of such a thing?

Was it meant to be a paperweight? Do I need a paperweight? To need a paperweight you need to have a desk, with papers on it, near an open window such that the papers needed holding down by a rock and just so no one will take that rock, you would need one with your name on it. Perhaps you needed a rock to throw through a loved one’s window to let her know that you were thinking of them? Yes, well, if I threw a rock through a girl’s window, "how’s she gonna know who the rock came from? What I really need is a rock with my name on it." Maybe it was a rock to throw at your enemies? Because don’t you want your enemies to know who threw this rock at them? I mean, did David write his name on any of the rocks he hurled at that Philistine? “Yeah, that’s right buddy, it’s David! They call me Dave and that’s my rock and now you’re dead! Boo-yah!”

Then it occurred to me, isn’t that what a headstone is: just a rock with your name on it? Is that how we’re remembered? Is that the only legacy  you leave behind on this planet? Is that all you ever achieved?  A piece of rock with your name carved in it? I think we either don’t think about it at all or we hope for more than that. Family? Kids? Work?

Can a legacy be simply the life you lead and the lives you touch? Seeing so many lives lost due to COVID-19 and hearing about those lives from friends and loved ones really makes you think. What would people say about me if I were to pass? I don't mean to be bleak - a claim hard to make after four paragraphs leading up to the question of death. I don't think I'll be remembered by a pile of books, or wonderful art works or even by these journal entries but maybe by some odd combination of all of it? This is just to say, if you want to be remembered for more than just a slab of granite with some type carved on one side, you'd better get started now. That's exactly the kind of glum thought a birthday can bring. I don't think of it as "glum" though. More like a motivator, like seeing a shockingly high number on the weigh scale or a pair of pants that don't fit anymore. Be the change you want to see and all that because before you know it, all you'll be left with is some dirt and a rock with your name on it.


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