Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Prophet

Okay, so I'm not religious. I call myself agnostic because it is a quick way to say who I am. I'm not sure what/who is out there and I'll never be sure. I'm not taken in by charismatic people who seem to know what they're talking about. (It's important to note that I am not saying most religious people are taken in by just anyone. I'm simply making the point that it is a big deal for me to think so highly of one person based on his beliefs and actions - not on first-hand knowledge.)

This is why, if I had to choose someone to respect and admire unabashedly; someone who, if I were ever to see him, I would probably detect some sort of gold-ish haze around him, it would be Utah Phillips. The link connects to a wikipedia article about him, which, if you're interested will give you the details on the man I might actually call my hero.

I've never been one for heroes. I don't like words that I can't define. What is a hero? Is it someone we admire? There are many people I admire. That can't be it. There has to be more. Let's look at examples of heroes. Phillips speaks about the fact that children today have heroes who are made-up people. Spider-Man, Barbie (kill me now). Whatever happened, he asks, to grandparents, Babe Ruth, actual people?

Okay, so Utah is guiding me through the hero conundrum. Should heroes be people we aspire to be? People we respect and admire so much that we model our lives on that person? I think I may have just answered my own question. Thanks Utah.

Here's another shard of glass. I don't have heroes because I don't model myself after anyone. I have always tried to be my own person (often to an extreme extent). I don't wear crazy outfits or die my hair different colors, but I always try to be the most honest version of myself. As I've grown I've realized this isn't always possible. But in any given situation, I can shift to the most honest version that particular situation can hold. I'm malleable. Yay me.

At least that's what I aim for. Okay, sorry about the tangent. So I wouldn't call Utah a hero. I don't aspire to be a labor reformer. I don't want to get people riled up and make a scene. I don't like to embarrass people. But I admire people who do.

Utah does it in my favorite way. He is an unassuming activist. He is modest and thoughtful. He is joyful and likes to laugh. He sees the beauty in the world and in people. He is brimming with stories and music. He has unthinkable amounts to share with this world.

I'm going to include the two quotes that led to this post. I hope you'll go buy some of his stuff.

  • "Following the path of least resistance is what makes the river crooked."

  • And, the one that calmed me after a rough day:

  • "Little kids are . . . assholes. But they're their own assholes. When you grow up, you're someone else's asshole . . ."


  • Check out UtahPhillips.org

    3 comments:

    Adam Elend said...

    My favorite Utah quote:

    "Freedom is something you assume, then you wait for someone to try to take it away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free."

    jmixont said...

    For the record, I do seem to have a long list of heroes. In my case, a hero of mine isn't necessarily someone I asspire to be like. A hero is somply someone I respect because they've reached a goal I'd like to reach someday. They happen to be people who have done the things I'd like to do. It is not the converse - because they've done something isn't why I want to do it. Did that make sense?

    Camel said...

    He he...he said asspire.

    And I like the color scheme. Of course. :)

    I should say something witty and rhetorical. Some anecdote or analysis filled with pathos and depth.

    I used to have heroes. Until they all let me down. I prefer my heroes in colorful lycra-spandex outfits speaking in bubbles.

    I have people who inspire me to be better and to do better.

    And I don't think you can use "converse" like that.

    Ok, so not so deep, but I have been entrenched in Florida lit all day. It is the most mundane, hackneyed and shittiest thing in the world.