It’s the Little Things
There Were No Big Things
By Steve Carr
My adult children “gifted” me a year-long membership in an online service that sends me a writing prompt every Monday. At the end of the year my entries will be bound in a book and, voilà, my memoir will be magically published. Sounds simple, huh? Not so much.
“What do you consider to be your greatest achievements?” was the prompt that appeared in my email this morning. What regular Joe from Idaho wants to tackle that on a Monday, or ever? I have an astronaut friend who flew on the Space Shuttle, a niece who plays college softball, and a college professor friend whose article was cited in a Supreme Court brief. Then there’s me. Let’s see.
I’ll resist the inclination to write about my family. Aren’t memoirs, at least the ones that get read, supposed to be about being orphaned and raised by wolves? My family is mostly alive and, all in all, quite supportive. Hardly my achievement. A wise and empathetic friend shared a quote with me: “Enjoy the little things in life. One day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” My achievements? Here’s my resume. I think it’s Hall of Fame material.
- Winning my first wrestling match, even though I’d never been to wrestling practice or even seen a wrestling match before. Six minutes of rassling felt like an eternity. I’d throw my opponent down, sit on his chest and try to hold his arms down with my knees. He would wiggle free, and I would throw him down again, over and over. The whistle finally blew. We shook hands and the referee raised my arm in victory.
- Convincing the police that my high school gang’s acquisition of one dentist chair from one dentist’s office was not an act of theft but a result of honest miscommunication. We avoided prosecution under the letter of the law, although I’ve since repented for a pretty clear violation of the spirit of the law.
- Three girls’ choice dances over two weekends, three different high schools. Need I say more?
- Being named (unofficially) as the honorary mayor of a small village in Mali. I’d tell you the name of the village but I can’t remember it.
- A box full of red ribbons from high school track. Blue eluded me, but not forever. I’ll choose first-place blue for the cover on my memoir.
- Impressing my future bride on our first date by hitting a telephone wire with a rock catapulted from a slingshot on three successive shots. After writing this down for the first time, it struck me for the first time: what kind of a guy brings a slingshot on a first date—or any date, for that matter? Maybe I should reconsider this one.
- Running for sixth grade president and losing by one only vote! I have a vivid memory of Mr. Olsen opening the ballots and marking the votes by our respective names on the chalk board. The excitement was palpable. This was before CNN, so there were no exit polls or early projections. It came down to the last ballot. A near victory. I knew Mom would be proud of me and also the vote I cast for Melanie. Mom often reminded her boys to be considerate to the young ladies.
- Being born an Idahoan. Okay, I didn’t have much to do with this, but I’ve chosen to call Idaho home—that’s something.