Monday, October 15, 2012

Don't Be This Guy

A while ago, I visited the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve in the hills looking over the San Francisco Bay Area.  There's a big pond filled with fish and turtles, a floating pier to jump on, and a tunnel from the parking lot that makes fun echoes.  In spite of the gut-churning, hour-long drive up there, it was a fun day for the kids.

Beside the lake is a small nature center.  It's called the David C. Daniels nature center.  When we walked in, I went over to the two rangers sitting behind a desk and asked who Daniels was.  They had no idea.  After a while of looking at raccoon pelts and opossum teeth, I noticed a small, framed page on the wall.

I learned that David was a good athlete and student.  I learned he went abroad.  I learned he worked for an investment bank.  I learned that his friends liked him.

And that was it.  I found it hard to believe an entire nature center was named after him; he didn't seem all that unusual.  Intrigued by the line "David is not remembered for his many accomplishments..."  I took a picture of the sign and, after I got home, searched for his name online, hoping to find out what his accomplishments were.

I found nothing.  Eventually, I came to the realization that David, contrary to what the sign said, must never have accomplished anything.  The only reason I knew about him was his parents were rich and donated a nature center.  Disturbed, I read the sign over and over again.

I remembered the funeral of a man who, at his memorial service, nobody could think of anything to say about him other than: "he loved life."  I remembered the death announcement from a junior high friend that listed the people who would miss him; they were all pets.

I exhort you to accomplish something.  Make something.  Do something.  When you die, make sure the sign in your memorial doesn't skirt your "many accomplishments."  Make sure it lists a bunch.

Don't be this guy.

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