He wasn’t Alucard, King of Undeads, but I knew it was bad when the principal of our small Lutheran school knocked on the door of my 6th Grade classroom to have a huddled conversation with my teacher.
“Danny, Mr. Koenig needs to see you in his office.”
The deafening silence of my classmates only matched by the sound of blood pounding in my chest as I was ushered into his office. This couldn’t be good.
“Do you know why I’ve asked to see you?”
I nodded I didn’t, but I had a pretty good hunch. Mr. Wacholdt had caught me cheating and now I was in deep trouble. I heard myself sputtering some meandering account of how I couldn’t help it; it wasn’t my fault that one of my classmates had made it so easy to see the quiz I couldn’t help but see her paper…
“But even if you looked, did Peggy make you write down her answer?”
“No sir. I never cheated before and I’ll never do it again…” But it was too late. I was already hearing the sounds of my goose getting cooked.
“I’m sorry. There are consequences and you knew them. This is going on your permanent record.”
I took his tough love in the form of 5 swats, slinking back to class, my face as red as my behind was stingy. But what really scared me was being named a criminal at 11-years old. My permanent record…that can’t be good. I’ll never get a drivers license.
I met the inquisition and grand punishment at home…but that I was ready for. What I was really dreading was telling Grandpa. Later that week, I had the chance to talk to him – man-to-man…how I felt…blathering on and on how I would never do it again.
When I finally stopped talking, he paused and said for him, all he could do was try to leave things better than they were when he found them. If he did that, it had been a good day. What did I think I should do…was an apology in order? I nodded that it was. As he got up from the porch step, he leaned down, squeezed my shoulder and whispered that he thought I had just had a very good day. I was silent. I never cheated again – ever.
As I thought about him this week, I realized the real piece of wisdom in that back porch conversation was him. He hadn’t told me anything I hadn’t witnessed. It was how he lived. Every day, he added a new entry into his ledger. He never bothered trying to erase the previous day’s errors. What was the point? It was done. There was work to do. Instead, he chose to stay mindful of what it was he was doing in the moment – his own unique form of the permanent record I kept of him.
There is so much more to our permanent record than a bunch of file folders in a forgotten school basement or backroom at a police department [more on that at the end of this post]. Scars are another form of permanent record.
I propose scars are no respecter of persons – high or low born. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some scars are deep inside, tough to see and often harder to heal. Other scars are more obvious, bearing witness to every injury, surgery and tree house accident on the surface of our persons. Irrespective of form, I have come to honor them as a kind of Day One mile marker – a birthday party of sorts, both for the moment of injury and for the day subsequent healing could begin. Scars remind me I have overcome the blood and will again.
Shortly after the 1st of the new year, I was reading my resume, retrospectively looking across my working life thus far and the 3 distinct careers I’ve had. I didn’t set out to have three and none of them were what I thought they were going to be. Like a lot of other things in life, they must have happened when I wasn’t looking. Point of my reflection was this 3rd career wasn’t lighting me up anymore.
Was this scar tissue or an honest appraisal of my permanent record thus far? But I’m stubborn, Irish and persistent in my intention to work till the day after I die so I had to give equal weight in recognizing the world hasn’t stopped whirling since I did my very best to set it on fire as a young Turk ‘back in the day’. How do I stay relevant in doing what I’m good at when I’m not new or shiny? It was complicating things to honestly admit I’d grown weary of working for things that didn’t seem to stick around. No job is permanent, merely a cleverly disguised audition for the next one. Hearing ‘Dust in the Wind’ play in the background wasn’t speaking to much of anything even remotely resembling durability.
But for all my sage insight and self-indulgent reminiscing, I remembered the one thing I did know was how much I don’t know. So I began my own quest, searching out people and resources, seeking their professional input to aid me in charting my new vocational course.
At the start, I was not encouraged. I do not blame the first recruiters I came in contact with for not yet having been born when Reagan was President. Try as they might to hide their gasps when they looked at my resume and saw the year I graduated, these same HR ‘profession-istas’ were swearing to me that ageism does not exist and no, not everyone getting hired is named Dakota.
I’m glad Dakota has a degree, likes people, lives in his parents basement and doesn’t know how to do anything. He might have a new transcript, a 28-inch waist and a bar-hopping itinerary, but so what? That’s where he’s at right now…just like I was when I was Dakota back in my youth.
But when it comes to Life? I have one thing he doesn’t. I have a grandpa who taught me how to build a permanent record . I have done things. I know how to build good things (and people) and I have done so repeatedly.
I recently had a conversation with a vocational guidance counselor I secretly suspect is Yoda’s brother. He stopped me in a hallway the other day to ask if I knew what the root derivation of the word ‘resume’ was?
Do you remember the story in Greek mythology about Theseus and the Minotaur who lived in the Labyrinth? Sure, he ended up slaying the monster, but that was only half the story. Now he had to get out and go home.
In the “Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French resumer, from Latin resumere, from re- + sumere”, resume meant ‘to take up’.
What had he taken up? As the story goes, Princess Ariadne had given him a spool of thread to use in marking his passage on the way into the maze So far so good, right?
And what is the derivation of the word for spool of thread or yarn?
As early as the 1590’s it was the word ‘clew’. That’s right, just how it sounds. In the 1620’s, figuratively, the word had come to mean “that which points the way”. And by the mid-to-late 1940’s, it referred to “something which a bewildered person does not have”.
How did Theseus get out of his labyrinth and onto to our reading lists? He followed the clues.
I’ve learned that’s what a good resume should do for us. Clues. If you give it some thought, your past gives up its’ secrets. There are common threads to be found in the things we’ve been good at or enjoyed doing. Snapped out of my wondering, my newfound guide asked me, “Do you know what your threads are?”
Like Theseus , I realized I was only half-way home when my new Yoda then asked me the second question: “And how will you use them to get back to where you want to be?”
A big fan of Wayne Dyer (RIP), I realized I’d just felt the Cosmos reach out and slap the god-spark in me. Realizing none of us ever have any way of knowing what is around the next corner, I took it anyway.
What I found were doors…doors I’d never noticed the first time around. And what are doors good for? I started knocking. As they are designed to do, some of those doors started opening. ‘What kind of witchcraft is this?‘, I asked. No magic. It was as simple as finally getting it through my thick head (again) that I wasn’t done until I said I was done…and I hadn’t said it.
The last 8-weeks have been a whirlwind of submitting my college transcripts, academic applications, selecting course work and have career conversations with trained professionals whose mission it is to channel my experience and training into a new chapter. I’m recharged and filled with confidence . The stupid mistakes of the past which left scars now inform me those problems still exist for others in the business world. They have nothing to do with age or technology. There are lines in my permanent record that ring as true today as they did 31-years ago. The other day, someone said to me, “there is not one football game that has ever been played that wasn’t won in the 4th quarter”.
Against the backdrop of all of this, today is my 31st Anniversary of the day Rick and I met. Love at first sight is alive and well. Our relationship is the source of so much power in every part of my life. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. I think it may be god’s way of apologizing for the former. This many years later, I am in love with my best friend. It is the permanent record I add to every day.
Because of him and the acceptance of me on the part of all his people that I found his mother, Elsie, my second mom. This week marks the 8th anniversary of her death. It was one of the singular honors of my life to be able to officiate at her funeral and deliver her eulogy. I’ll always keep the text of those remarks private but I will say we began her service by playing “I Am Ready” by Dolly Parton. Elsie had been a huge Dolly fan since Dolly first came on the radio. We will be going to the cemetery later this week, as a couple, as her boys, to lay flowers at her grave. The flowers will fade, but ours is an entry into a larger permanent record. If you will indulge me, I close my post with a musical note that includes Ms. Parton. I think Mom will like it.
This Life? It happens fast and not much of it is permanent. Sometimes our lives don’t seem to leave much of a wake as we make our way across this life. But if we love and have no fear; if we do so every day, it is as good a testimony as I could ever hope for. Invoking all the lessons of my childhood and the scars I’ve earned since, I measure my progress to-date against the imagery of one day standing in front of the Almighty at the end of my life. When I get to the top of the escalator, He is going to ask me one very important question.
“Do you know why I’ve asked to see you?”
I’m going to smile and say ‘Yes…because of my permanent record.’
Here’s another form of permanent record that has been decades in the making.
Click if you’d like to read the Final Reports Executive Summary for yourself…
August 29, 1922 – April 9, 2016
“Arthur Anderson, who performed on radio as a teenager with Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater and appeared on Broadway, in films and on television, but whose most enduring role was as the voice of Lucky Charms cereal’s leprechaun, died on Saturday in Manhattan. He was 93.
A friend, Craig Wichman, confirmed the death.
Mr. Anderson was the voice of Lucky the Leprechaun, a mischievous cartoon redhead in a green coat, from 1963 to 1992. “Frosted Lucky Charms,” he’d sing, “they’re magically delicious.”
“I never got free cereal,” he told ABC News in 2005. “But they gave me lots of green money. And it was a fun character to play. Hardly a day goes by when somebody doesn’t ask me to sing the Lucky Charms jingle, and I’m proud of that.”
The versatility of his voice — his Irish brogue was bogus; he was the Staten Island-born son of immigrants from Denmark and England — had been paying off since his first professional radio role, as a ukulele-playing orphan on a show called “Tony and Gus” on NBC in 1935 when he was only 12.”
Fascinating story on his whole career at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/arts/television/arthur-anderson-voice-of-lucky-charms-cereals-leprechaun-dies-at-93.html?_r=0 PHOTO AND ADDITIONAL SOURCE: http://www.horrorsociety.com/2016/04/13/voice-stage-actor-arthur-anderson-passed-away/
30 Things You Might Not Know about Lucky Charms: http://www.asklatisha.com/30-things-you-might-want-to-know-about-lucky-charms-cereal/
I didn’t know I was getting another mom when I fell in love with your son. From Day One, you loved me like I was yours. We’re taking care of each other like we said we would, but you know that. We’re good.
This one’s for you…from us.
I love you.
“When I get to where I’m going”
Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Alucard the King of Undeads and the Permanent Record: https://memegenerator.net/instance2/5297815; Portfolios: http://learningkeeper.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/old-paper-files-in-stacks-you-cant-access-LearningKeeper-Homeschool-Online-Digital-Portfolio-Compliance-Record-Keeping-Software.jpg; READ MORE ABOUT IT: Theseus (SOURCE): http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/myth-of-theseus-and-minotaur/; Resume’ (SOURCE): http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/resume; Resume – Thread: http://etymonline.com/index.php?term=clue – clue (n.) Look up clue at Dictionary.com: clue (n.) Look up clue at Dictionary.com – “1590s, spelling variant of clew “a ball of thread or yarn,” in this sense with reference to the one Theseus used as a guide out of the Labyrinth. The purely figurative sense of “that which points the way” is from 1620s. As something which a bewildered person does not have, by 1948.”; Joey Lawrence in Blossom: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/blossom-gallery-1.91968?pmSlide=1.92912; Happy Anniversary Card (as source) for Happy 31st: https://www.etsy.com/listing/240503438/happy-anniversary-gay-card-with-two-bow; Elsie by dan4kent; Vintage Lucky Charms Box (circa 1964): https://www.pinterest.com/pin/41025046579024360/; LUCKY: Source: http://www.asklatisha.com/30-things-you-might-want-to-know-about-lucky-charms-cereal/
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