Sunday, December 30, 2007

Who are you, no really, who are you for real?

I have a friend, Bill Roddy, who used to own the Southern Humboldt Life and Times. Each week he would publish an interview of two southern Humboldt residences, a man and a woman. This was before computers were relied on to keep things sorted out for us. One day he called a gentleman to ask him for an interview, and the man replied, “Bill, you already interviewed me a long time ago, remember?” He then went on to say that he would be glad to do it again, but only this time he wanted to be a fighter pilot. Bill got a lot of laughs out of that.

My grandmother used to say that “if you don’t like who you are, pretend to be someone that you would like to be until it fits”.

It has been said that the truest test of who you really are is who you would be, or what you would do, if nobody ever found out about the things you that you do.

Part of what I like about living in a small town is you can be anything that you want to be. Want to be on the school board? Chances are all you have to do is show an interest. Want to be president of a Rotary club? It’s fairly possible in a small town. How about; would you like to be a fireman when you grow up? It could happen.

I’ve lived a long Mittyesque existence, due to the fact that I live in a small town. Not to change the subject, but most folks know who Walter Mitty was, but for those of you who don’t, he was a man that lived mostly in his mind, and every small occurrence gave him the opportunity to drift off in a daydream about him being the hero who solved the problem and saved the day. I first read the story by James Thurber in high School, and I remember thinking at the time “My god that’s me!”

"WE'RE going through!" The Commander's voice was like thin ice breaking. He wore his full-dress uniform, with the heavily braided white cap pulled down rakishly over one cold gray eye. "We can't make it, sir. It's spoiling for a hurricane, if you ask me." "I'm not asking you, Lieutenant Berg," said the Commander. "Throw on the power lights! Rev her up to 8500! We're going through!" The pounding of the cylinders increased: ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. The Commander stared at the ice forming on the pilot window. He walked over and twisted a row of complicated dials. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!" he shouted. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!" repeated Lieutenant Berg. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" shouted the Commander. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" The crew, bending to their various tasks in the huge, hurtling eight-engined Navy hydroplane, looked at each other and grinned. "The Old Man'll get us through," they said to one another. "The Old Man ain't afraid of hell!" . . . “

Yep! I’ve flown many airplanes through the Stormy North Coast sky's above my nice toasty bed!.

I’ve been a logger, a soda jerk, I’ve made ice cream, my wife and I built our own house. I change my own head gaskets on my truck when it needs them, and if the old truck needs painting, I do it myself. I've been a fireman for thirty-three years, I did all the refrigeration in major supermarkets. Every time I drive past a house down here I tell my wife, “I did the heating and air-conditioning on that house.” It has all been because I didn’t know that I couldn’t. And in my mind I had to do it, because nobody else could do it as well as I would. I think that I’ve come to believe that. Thanks gramma. I’ve been doing a real good job of becoming who I want to be.

Lately, I've been pretending to be a blogger..... "What? I didn't ask your opinion dammit, rev 'er up to twelve million megapixels... Poketa-poketa-poketa-poketa... Paste a new photo on the header bar... Aye Aye sir"

Have you ever done something because it reflected who you wanted to be? Or do you daydream about the greatness that you might achieve? Come on, give, I don’t want to think that I’m the only one! The Secret life of Walter mitty, By James Thurber. Required reading if you want to know who I am.


Anonymous said...

I believe it was Sartre who said, "You become what you pretend to be."


EkoVox said...

Ha! Great post Ernie. Yes, in a small pond, sometimes, you get to be the big fish.

Carol said...

Nice photo on the header!

I would have liked to be a 1940's Hollywood film star like Katherine Hepburn.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Whew! I'm back! Celebrating anniversaries is tough business!

It’s not too late. Katherine acted well into her later years, and she used his disabilities to her advantage to play what was basically herself, or at least that person that she wanted to be. She was a very great actress in my opinion. Actually she was great in anyone’s opinion.

If the pond is small enough, you get to be the ONLY fish. But, you get to be the “big tuna” as long as there is nobody to take the job away from you.

“I believe it was Sartre who said, "You become what you pretend to be." -Frank

That’s a great quote. If you pretend to be a good and decent person your whole life, and act according to what a good and decent person would do, at the end it will be said that; “He was a good and decent person”.

We don’t have to look to far back in history to see that some of our ancestors didn’t practice that theory. They were more worried about LIVING than what other people thought of them… Again I’m glad that you brought that up.