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.
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.