Thursday, April 28, 2011

X Marks A Spot

X was how some people, those who couldn't write, used to sign their name. The county I live in, Bexar, has an X in the middle of it, reportedly because the man, Bear, would put an X for his name, and someone else would write out the rest of his name for him. I suppose at the time there were quite a few people signing their names with an X and they needed to differentiate on important documents like property deeds and so forth. Turned out that was a smart thing to do, otherwise all those Xs would have come back to haunt the tax assessor.

We all want to make our mark on the world in some way, don't we? When we are young, we have big dreams of doing big things. My 3 year old son has been running all over the house these days, yelling "Tony Parker to the rescue!" as he attempts to throw a basketball into a hoop. (for the uninitiated or uninterested, Tony Parker is the point guard for the San Antonio Spurs.) When he is a little older, I hope to steer him toward more realistic goals, but right now, he can be Tony Parker, all he wants. He can also be Kid Flash, a character from the TV show Young Justice, or Captain America from The Avengers

At that age, I had some big dreams too. The nuns in my EXTREMELY Catholic family told me that I planned to marry Peter Noonan from Herman's Hermit when I was two. I wouldn't think that nuns, especially nuns related to me, would lie about such a thing, so I suppose I must have established the dream of marrying a rock star.

Those first dreams about the world we want seemed to drift further away as I aged, curling into the air like tendrils of smoke, dissipating over time. Plus, my dreams changed with each new thing I learned or read about. When I was reading Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys, I wanted to be a detective. When I say To Kill A Mockingbird, I wanted to be white trash. (I kid--it was a lawyer.) Hell, I even wanted to be Mr. Tibbs! (if you don't know who Mr. Tibbs is, google In the Heat of the Night )

I wanted to be a contender in the contest of life. Who doesn't want to be on top of the heap at the end of the day? That is how a lot of people 'make their mark', by getting to the top of whatever pile that counts these days. You climb to the top of the pile, you get to be King of the Mountain, you get to write your X. That's it. You're done. You've reached the pinnacle of your dream. That thing that you've lived your entire life to get? It's got.

Now what? Is that the end of the line, or the start of something new? One door shuts, another one opens. Or as a very wise man once told me "Another train comes along every 5 minutes." Just because we want to leave our mark on the world doesn't mean we only get the one opportunity. If we've reached one goal, it's time for a new one. There's not any reason that we have to settle down and coast.

I have a goal of becoming a novelist. Blogging is my way of relearning the writing process. Once I reach my goal, who knows?

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