Posts Tagged ‘ kids ’

Crowdsourcing My Own Biography

I have a favor to ask of you.  I want you to write something about me.  It could be anything — a memory of me, an experience weImage shared together, a relationship we have had and maintained, a relationship we had and left off, a first impression you remember about me, an overall impression of me that you have…it can be anything.  It can be good, bad, or indifferent.  I want it to be anything that you think my family, friends, or the rest of the world would want to know about me.  

Here’s the thing:  I will never know what you write.  

Every single thing that you write will be sent to a third party who is sworn to keep it sealed and locked away until my death.  Let me give you a bit of the backstory.

Since high school, my dear friend @thehandsomeweasel and I have looked ahead excitedly in anticipation of what our futures might hold.  You know — all of those “firsts” that you just can’t wait to experience, some of the “firsts” you never wanted…we approached everything new as an adventure, really livin’. However, for all of the late night political and philosophical discussions we’ve had, we are still both keenly aware of the fact that, at some point, both of our lives will come to an end.  

I have been an avid journaler for nearly 17 years now (as this link will further explain), and Weasel and I arrived at an agreement one day over beers, at least a decade ago:  If I kick the bucket first, all of my journals will be sent to him, at which point he’ll go through them, pick out some of the passages I’ve written that are really characteristic of “me,” and put them together in a book of some kind, to be given to family and friends who would want to learn a little something about me they maybe didn’t know before.  I hope to provide guidance (or cautionary tales) to my own sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, even after I’m gone.  Afterward, my tomes will be sent back to my wife, who I hope will keep them in good stead.  If Weasel pushes up daisies first, I’ll be happy to perform that same service for him, should he request it of me.  

Some whom I’ve mentioned this idea to have asked with a smirk, “What makes you so sure your wife won’t go first?”  I usually reply by mentioning that my grandparents all lived to between 67 and 77, if memory serves me, whereas Alli’s family has longevity on their side.  Her grandmother passed away a couple of months ago at 93 (I think), and her grandfather is still around and kicking at 95.  I’m fairly certain that, unfortunately, she’s going to have some time to herself.  


The Life And Times Of Gufferson Q Grana

The entire point of this exercise is to take all of the (probably thousands by now) of pages that I’ve written and will write, and distill my life on paper down into something a little more palatable for everyone I care about to read when I’m gone.  It sounds morbid, but it’s not. I want to be remembered for something significant to those I love just like anyone else, and I figure that my journals will do that for my wife and kids (if we have any), as well as for family and friends.  (I wish my Dad had been even an “armchair” writer…there was so much locked in his head that he took with him when he passed away that I’d give anything to hear him talk about now.)  And you are about to contribute to that goal in a really meaningful way.  

So please, do this for me.  Right now.  Take a second to try and remember what you know about me.  What you like(d) about me, what you don’t (or didn’t) like, something great I did, something sh*tty I did, something I did or said to affect you…it doesn’t matter to me, I just want it to be true and authentic so that all of you who survive me in the future can look back and really get a clear picture of who I was at various stages of my life.  Once you do this for me now, you’ll send it to my friend Weasel at (that’s Kevin R Marten @ gmail.comdon’t forget the middle R).  He will take what you send him and sock it away for later compilation.  Also, don’t forget to include your name, your relationship to me, when you knew me, how old we were when we experienced whatever you are sending him, etc.  Details like those will help make it so that you will have real ownership in the shaping of whatever my legacy turns out to be, as those details will be included in the final compilation of my biography.  When you shoot the email, be sure to put “Project SunshineBoy” in the title line, and he will know that you are sending him something related to this project.  (SunshineBoy was a nickname my Dad gave me when I was a kid, supposedly because I smiled all the time.)  Remember, I’ll never read what you write, so don’t be shy.

Also, don’t be shy about this project of mine, either.  Share this on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and whatever else is out there now.  Forward this post on to anyone you know who knows (or knew) me.  The more help I get from you, the more fulfilling it will be to read in the future, long after you’ve forgotten you did it.  It’s free, takes only a couple of minutes of your time, and really could turn out to be something wonderful because of your participation.  

Thanks in advance, and have a great week!!


An Opinion On The Occupy Movement

If you can ignore the F-Bomb, Adam Carolla has some pretty interesting insights into the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I’m part of the generation they call “The Millenials,” and despite my pedigree, it seems to me that he’s absolutely right.  Skip to about 5:50 for the crux of the whole opinion, but he’s not far off the mark with his whole rant.

Could it be that these folks’ anger and frustration was misguided?  Why did they go straight to Wall Street to stage their protests, instead of to Washington, DC, where the frustration should have been focused?

Could it also be that that is why the “Occupy” movement is no longer relevant, if it’s even still around?  

The sad fact (or opinion, since I am really no expert on this thing) is this:  A bunch of kids were given access to easy money to get through school (they still are), because our own government has guaranteed every one of their loans.  They finished up, got their degrees in Anthropology, Literature, or some other nondescript major, and cannot find jobs with their skillset.  The tragedy is that all of these kids were told, “Just get a degree–it doesn’t even matter which one, they just want to see that you can finish what you started”–and then the mortgage meltdown dealt us a mighty blow, and companies began hiring candidates with skills they actually needed on their resumes.  That left many students with degrees completely unrelated to any work the prevailing workforce needed, to fend for themselves.  This, of course, did not end well, and so you have a “movement” like the “Occupy” movement emerge.  (For the record, I was told this exact same thing, but happened to get into aviation, where it is so specialized that if you gain the skills, the jobs are there right now.)

What many of today’s 18-25 year-olds have in education, they do not have in real-world experience.  It might be true that they were “sold” a wrongful bill of goods as far as education goes, but if no one needs the skills they have chosen to groom themselves with, why does that become the fault or problem of the 1% in this country?  Who is supposed to take responsibility for the consequences of these kids’ decisions?

I understand the knee-jerk reaction to envy, but Adam Carolla speaks the truth in this case.  I am very well aware of the risks of returning to school to tackle a Business degree, but that’s exactly what they are: Risks.  The truth is that my education may not let me walk into a decently-paying job right out of school, and I have weighed this at length in my own introspections, and tried to get my wife to let me talk myself out of it probably twelve times now (she won’t).  It’s a different situation for me also, because this isn’t my first rodeo.  The last time I tried this, I basically crashed and burned.  With age comes wisdom, of course, but even still–the future is never certain.  It’s up to me to figure out how to get where I want us to be.  Not the 1%-ers, not some “movement,” not some law.  Me.  Know why?  Because despite the “bonds” that have been formed by those at the Occupy Movement’s “events,” none of those people actually care about each other.  Sure, some of them will be friends, and try to get each other jobs once they get one themselves, but that happens everywhere.

Those who reacted this way did not help themselves, and neither did these.

Once the Occupy Movement dissipated from every city in this country, every person in attendance was left to fend for himself.  They are still mentally in college; when you’re at college, you will make friends for life, and things will be utopian for a couple of semesters…but they will not be responsible for your grades–that is up to you.  It might be true that no one groomed these people to actually go out and get jobs, but the fact is, the information is out there.  You either stack up, or you don’t.

Get educated, and get a grip on what you want your life to look like.  It’s not up to anyone but you to make it happen!

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