I don't know why, but I've been pondering the question:
What if for some weird reason everyone that I've ever known was in a room and I had the chance to give a speech to all of them?
What would I say? Would it be a long speech? Would it be short and to the point? Will it include several $10 Words like "transmogrification", "grandiloquent", "acerbic" and so on (those are just some of my favorite words along with "waffle")?
I mean, what an interesting position to be in. I can just imagine sitting up on some sort of makeshift podium, or at least I call it a podium - it's really a table I'm standing on where I've had just enough to drink to calm my nerves, but I've had just enough to drink to call it a podium (weird how that works out). However, right now sober me is thinking that there's a very strong, apparent theme I would harp on in my sincerest of ramblings to a crowd of unsuspecting individuals who are all collectively trying to figure out how they got teleported into one room in the first place. That theme would be a translation of the past into a coherent understanding of how all the tiny near ignore-able actions between me and everyone else added up to a whole me - present day Antonio.
You see, there are so many people in my life who have cared less than the other guy, or for a more positive spin cared more than the other guy or gal (Not that "gal" matters, I just didn't want to type it twice but I did anyways. Oops!). They have come and gone and have imparted me to me their presence or investment in one way or another, and I wonder to what extent such a speech even matters.
Start the scenario: I stare among a vast crowd of maybe thousands of people I've gotten to know in my life.
It's only human to look at some of the individuals and see what their reaction to me getting on a table is in the first place right after I've yelled, "I'd like to tell you all something!". Some faces look sincerely interested in what I have to say (they're anticipating something great) and on the other end you have others sipping from the complementary wine I've provided but are looking for the next available exit (there is none in case you're wondering if I'm an evil genius(I am)). There are polarized reactions and some mixed in there of general blank
Tensions are high. This is important because at this very moment my empathetic subconscious kicks my brain in the nads yelling, "You owe these people something they can take home with them. They came here all this way!" Ok, Subconscious, you win.
Again, let me remind you, the theme is about about interpreting the investment of everyone's actions with each other to affect my outcome. I get up to speak, but I think my voice is coming out of the nervous sweat of my brow. Do I start with "LEND ME YOUR EARS, BROTHERS AND SISTERS!"?
Nah, too epic -- keep it casual.
"HARK! ALL OF MY FELLOW COMRADES OF THE HUMAN RACE, LISTEN TO MY WORDS!"
Yea, I know that was much worse. Let me try again...
"I know all of your are wondering why you are here in this very large room. I am also wondering that myself. I promise, once I've said my speech, you will be back from where you ca-"
A heckler interrupts! He demands to know what the hell is going on -- of course he didn't listen to anything I said; he must have hogged all the complementary wine (Bryan has always been kind of a jerk).
I then press on, "It is of great importance to me that you are here and I plan to make it worth your while. You see, I've lived almost 25 years now. That is long enough for America to not only validate me as car renter, but also long enough to to fully reflect on the impact you have had on my life. So I'd like to start with-"
And then I suddenly stop.
I can't possibly give credit to each of these people for my success or greatest revelations. Do I not also acknowledge their shortcomings? Where have they failed me? Hasn't my life also been a victim of circumstances they have set up themselves for their own agendas?
It's as if suddenly everyone has turned into a disciple of Ayn Rand where everyone has been a co-conspirator in the great petting of egos for the last 25 years.
I freeze and start wondering how much easier it would be to start convulsing on the ground and concurrently die from the anxiety, but nothing is that simple. But my brain kicks in. I get the idea that it is the concoction of everyone's shortcomings and successes that generated me -- a learned individual withstanding the apparent test of time.
Do I opt' for the cheesy cop-out of, "I love you." and walk away? NO! I have an important speech to make, right? I have to believe I am the sincerest fighter where I use words like throwing stars. I must identify truth and preach it from my "podium".
"I'm sorry, where was I? Oh, yes..."
"You see after a lot of thought about how everyone has played an influence in my life, I have one revelation about how any of it has mattered. You have at some point or another looked at me with a value judgement in mind. You all have seen me for my heart, my brains, my strength, my work ethic, or my first impression, weighing them against the scale of your indifference."
"At some point I have to wonder who here matters most! But to everyone's credit, better time is spent to value you all as a whole. There is no objectively accurate scale I could use to measure what actions I perceived as positive or negative. I could not create a list or chart for selecting the Who's Who of Most Positive Impacts on Antonio's Life. I will say, what I will always remember, is those in my life who have believed in all the aspects I mentioned earlier - heart, brain, strength, and work ethic. My memory is glued to the image of perseverance because of those who have stood by me in the best and worst of times."
"You all stand as mental suspensions harnessing me just above the floor of 'rock bottom', and really it's because of a world of people who are all preoccupied with themselves that your investment means the most. I can not quantifiably or qualitatively value people beyond what God mysteriously has, but I can say that it is significant."
"The significance of people with their encouragement and support creates an individual who also believes in those two ideas-- encouragement and support. If we can all learn from our mistakes and successes at once, we should learn that we can all begin to believe in ourselves with others in mind, never treating people as the afterthoughts we create because spare time and opportunity have decided to collide. If we can actively seek out opportunities to love, serve, and support we can create a world less devoted to the idea of wealth in a capitalistic and material economic system. Maybe a world is a better place when we place value in the mental well-being and physical well-being of others, or maybe it is better with the competition of corporations creating for us technologies to make our lives "easier", or maybe we can venture to say both.
"I am no gifted philosopher, or one gifted with prognostic foresight, but wherever we land, what's important to take away is this: that above all tests of time, in whatever circumstance of history, empathetic recognition of our fellow human will reign supreme. So, it's clear to me we've all lived together. We are like college roommates who have come and gone, living through the best and worst of each other's lives."
And then everyone starts to fade slowly, or evaporate, or whatever neat way people can dramatically exit a hypothetical. No smiles, no sense that anyone received my message incredibly well. I may never know what any thought about my speech. It's all I could really think to say at one time unprepared. Will my good intentions matter? Do they ever? I don't know, but it's not important that they do.