Easy Step by Step Instructions
- Enter a contest in which the prize is a trophy, and win first place. (In this case it was a mandatory grade eight public speaking contest. We picked a topic from a list, wrote a speech, memorized it and delivered it in front of an audience consisting of peers, judges, siblings, parents, teachers, unsuspecting friends and neighbours and people who wandered in from the street by mistake.)
- Bring the trophy home and pester members of your family until someone finally agrees to take a picture of you holding it, preferably on your front lawn with the engraved bit showing your name facing forward and yourself squinting into the sun.
- When the film is developed, be so dismayed by how the shadows make your face look like that of an angry gorilla that you feel like crying and burning it to destroy the evidence. Wonder if you might actually look like that in real life.
- Decide that although in this photo you definitely look like hell you are still proud of your achievement and are not likely to have any other pictures of it to preserve for posterity. Carefully tear the head off, although not carefully enough to save the cup and handles portion of the trophy. Rip it up anyway and throw it away.
- Mount touched up photo in album and label it “Headless Public Speaking Contest Winner 1962”.
You might also want to prepare yourself for the following conversation.
“What the hell is this?”
“It’s a picture of the trophy I won for public speaking in grade eight.”
“What happened to your head?”
What are you most proud of achieving so far this year? What are your goals for the second half of the year?
GAWD I’m bad at answering questions like this. Because it’s a question straight off some horrifying job interview. Makes me want to throw something and tell the pompous shit who asked it that I haven’t accomplished a damned thing so far this year, thus there’s no reason on earth for me to be freaking proud of anything and I don’t have any stupid bullshit goals.
Hopefully at an actual job interview I’d be smart enough not to say all that out loud.
Proud is a perfectly ugly word when it means arrogant and self-important. Egomaniacs could use a good strong dose of modest and humble – toning that proud thing down to a more acceptable middle of the road ‘pleased’ or ‘satisfied’.
Then there’s the scary ‘achievement’ notion – an accomplishment – something successfully done and completed. A goal reached. But reaching goals is kind of like rock climbing, there’s always the next one to get to, and the next. Like housework that never ends. I dusted! YAY – goal reached! Do it again tomorrow!
A bus could run over me at any moment, so I’m not feeling any strong sense of urgency to make up some long-term six-months-down-the-road plan of action. Going to concentrate on today instead.
The short-term goal I have in mind for this afternoon is to go to Home Depot and purchase one of those “I’m not wood” benches made of recycled materials that end up looking pretty much exactly like real wood and when I get it home I will put it together outside in the sunshine. I have another goal for tomorrow, which involves a safe and uneventful drive to Calgary to pick up my sister and bring her back here where she can admire my new bench. These goals are personal and will probably not change the world.
And that’s okay. Getting these things done will be pleasing and satisfying non earth-shattering experiences. I’ll be happy with that.