We need to talk about this living legend thing. I mean really, there are those that are remembered and have a legacy that will extend to the ends of humankind. Neil Armstrong, Abe Lincoln, Hank Aaron, Big Bird, Johnny Cash, Madeleine Albright, Ray Charles, Winston Churchill, and Julia Child all made it, why can’t I? Is this all there is? There must be something more. It’s probably related to my terminal case of existential angst, because after having done all that I feel like I need to do, I wonder continuously if there isn’t something more that needs doin.
I went to school, got married, had kids, started a business, and then retired. Is that it? Have I shot my load and am now just waiting for the sweet embrace of death? That doesn’t seem to make sense, whether you are religious or not. If you are religious, I assume you believe that God has some supreme purpose for you, else He or She would just snuff your ass once He/She realized that you either had accomplished it, or you were never going to accomplish it. If you’re religious and not snuffed out, I assume you are praying that God will reveal His/Her purpose or His/Her will, else He/She would just summon you “Home” once He/She realized that your sorry ass was incapable of comprehending the Morse code messages hidden in the sacred texts that were transmitted to you down through the ages.
If you were not religious and instead were convinced that there is a natural order, survival of the fittest, kick ass, ultimate warrior death match sort of existence, then you would think that your ass would get snuffed out once nature saw no further use for your sorry ass. Natural selection would just snuff you out since nature had found no use for your feeble, obese, and weak old carcass.
There are these things called the Darwin Awards that are given out always posthumously, since the awardee always dies an ironic death of their own making. From the Darwin Awards website I quote
“The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it in a spectacular manner!https://darwinawards.com/
In a supremely ironic twist, i recently read that John Allen Chau, a self proclaimed world explorer inspired by Livingston and Jesus, was killed by the very tribe of natives he was offering eternal life. So I’m not sure what category to place this guy in, religious or non-religious, because I think that he provided a valuable lesson to both communities of “living legends”. On top of that, he has become a living legend. Why else would I be bringing him up? Let us hope that the way to becoming a living legend does not solely rest on being added to the list of Darwin Awardees.
I think I’ll put my yearning for a legacy on the back shelf and just let nature takes its course. After all, I’m pretty sure that’s what both Hanks (Aaron and Williams), Yoyo Ma, and Fred Rogers did. It is my conclusion that only failing Presidents should and do worry about their legacy. A category to which I do not belong … yet. Being an old pissy white dude definitely puts me in contention, though.
My concluding remarks are best summarized in a song by Peggy Lee – Is That All There Is?