I'm not sure a hit CD would have mattered.

Last week, I listened to a podcast from WGBH. They do a regular feature called Morning Stories that reinforces my belief that no fiction writer can compare with the intrigue that is inherent in people telling their own life story.

In the 10.3.06 edition, jazz musician Stan Strickland tells his story of a tragic surfing accident. Without getting into the details, he gets slammed against the bottom and messes himself up pretty bad. As a wave picks him up to smash him down again, he is convinced he will die. In that moment, he has a thought....
"....suddenly another wave comes...and I can't breath. I feel like , I don't know, this is it...and I'm going to be washed up on the beach...and I don't even have a hit cd. No legacy. Nothing to claim I've done anything...."
I don't even have a hit cd. How amazing. This poor guy fully believes he's about to be killed in the ocean and his first thought is "I don't even have a hit cd."

As I listened to his story, I began to wonder about people who we think have made it in life. Rock stars. Pro atheletes. Titans of business. In that moment, as they're about to be dashed against the rocks and dragged out to sea, do they say "Dude....at least I had a hit cd?"

I'm convinced that the majority of people are aspiring to things that, once achieved, will ring hollow at the end of their lives. Just ask the rich and successful on their deathbed - are you fulfilled? Was the hit cd all you hoped it would be?

Think a little bit about what constitutes 'making it' in your book. What is success to you? And if you were convinced at this moment that it was the end of your earthly days, would it matter at all if you'd accomplished it? If not, you might want to reevaluate. Not everyone gets a Stan Strickland moment. We would do well to borrow the lesson from him rather than risk not getting a chance to learn it first hand until it's too late.


Esther Irwin said...

I bet if he had a new little baby girl he would have had this thought... why didn't I put more pictures of Zoe on my blog? (of course, he would have had to have a little baby named Zoe to say that...)

Robert Pooley said...

Spot on... its amazing sometimes the things we think are important... we tend to think in now terms, instead of thinking eternally.... What will we do that will make a difference in eternity? I mean, will we be in heaven 5000 years from now going, man I'm sure glad he survived to put out that cd... Well done, thou good and faithful jazz musician.