My early morning ritual was severely derailed this morning because of the time change. It was 6 and I was thinking for some odd reason it was 8. I fell down the rabbit hole even further when thinking about how good going back to school has been for me, my family, my soul.
Then, I became even further sidetracked when reflecting on why I did not get the education I so yearned for. (and that whole other rabbit trail)
Veering left at the fork, I fell back into the 1970's and that always riles me up. I had to slap myself around for a minute or two after noticing I had written a complete dissertation on said subject matter without the subject matter (WB) in the writing at all. So, I pulled him in when analyzing the Self-Made Man theory.
Flight of thought. Dr. Lee has a name for it. I seem to think it has something to do with the ability to think about more than one thing at a time. He agrees that is fine, he just cannot seem to keep up with me when I am covering all of the things I need to tell him in just 2 hours per year. That is really all the time you get with your internist if you only go twice a year.
The Self-Made Man ~ (SMM)
The short of it is.....my Gran called an unsavory feller this name with great disdain. "You know, he's just a SELF-MADE MAN !"
In my mind, a SMM was a good thing to be. You came from modest/humble beginnings, was not originally destined to make something overly large for yourself and made out pretty good, overall. Gran was right to call him that, as the shoe fit. But, we all knew he had the morals of an alley cat.
The Willie Bill reference is that I had considered him to be a SMM. But Gran's inference to that other feller had me stumped. I would never, ever throw those two in the same fox hole. Yes, WB came for modest beginnings, from generations of bricklayers and worked himself into a successful home builder. But he did not do it alone. Not completely.
Most of the articles I perused this morning were targeted at those who had NO ASSISTANCE of any kind. Now, how can that be? Does that mean that to be a SMM, you could not have had a special favor, a grant to college, an aunt that let you board in one of her rooms ~ that is what some believe. Surely somebody did something for these SMM's on the list throughout their lives to get them to where they are, even if it was getting a ride on the back of a covered wagon going west.
After several articles mentioned Malcom Gladwell's Outliers it all came back to me. If my memory serves correctly, he inferred that without some kind of leg up (wealth, education, status) one was highly unlikely to make it as a SMM. Most of the bloggers and writers on the SMM subject matter list their ideal SMM's. They all had at least one thing in common ~ lots and lots of money. Then, post after of post of people responding in debate over who should or should not be classified a Self-Made Man.
(Incidentally, I left that book at the airport in Chicago for somebody else to read. It was disgusting. Normally a fan of Gladwell works, I just could not get my arms around it.)
But, when reading about common ideology during the Great Depression, being a Self-Made Man also implied that it was a more well-rounded man. A manly man, a God fearing man, a good husband, a good father, a good neighbor, a man who sets a good example and the consummate humanitarian.
No doubt, the theory has somewhat changed with the times and SMM seems to be on the tips of many a tongue during this economic downturn. Montgomery Gentry even has a song titled Self-Made Man, but he got way off the reservation. Hey, perhaps that was the intent. You know what they say about opinions......
It is all just too subjective. Kate intends to take Philosophy this summer, perhaps she will take this one for the team.
But, isn't that exactly why Gran called this wealthy scad a Self-Made Man in that tone? He was a jack-ass of the first order, to his family, to his friends, to everyone. From nothing, he climbed to the top and today is a very wealthy man ~ and at the expense of others. Gran was highly intelligent and well-spoken. She would not have misused the term.
Now, EVERY-body would like to know who this feller is but I would never disclose his name, here. If you are a relative of mine, you know. EWWWWW EEEEEEE. Nasty business.
No longer confused, I will adopt Gran's analogy. You may become a SMM if you come from nothing and achieve great things, but if you do it at another's detriment, you're not just a SMM, you're a "You know, he's a SELF-MADE-MAN". I can see her now, as she would curiously cut her eyes and lift her right eyebrow.
Same for politics. Why is it that the candidate believes that we are more likely to vote for him/her if you came from nothing and worked your way up to the top? There must be a tell-all on a bookshelf somewhere that explains this madness. I really do not mind if you are as rich as black Texas dirt and running for office if you are willing to work hard, work smart and keep your hands in your pockets. That means, work daylight to dark and then some. You are never off, always on. You are smart enough to surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and you do not lay your hands on taxpayer dollars or your secretary's babysitter.
My analogy would then make WB a better candidate for the Self-Made Man. Everything except he was taught to work hard, taught to lay brick and block, taught to build houses, etc. He did get a leg up, matter of fact, he got a tremendous boost. His advantage was his family and this is how this all began.
A simple little post about being grateful for this new education which allows me to better share living with AD and the differences in our families as it relates to "getting that leg up". That, my friends, is for another day.
But the other part, the thing I now know Gran must have been speaking to ~ is the lack of humanity, the lack of humility, the lack of charity, the lack of compassion, the selfishness. You simply do not have to give your money away to comply. Being kind, humble, grateful, sharing your knowledge, thoughts or opinions would qualify. This feller did none of that.
But WB did, always.
Closing this mess, it is important for me to note that I now believe it may not be smart to profess that you are a SMM while still among the living. Things could change, and they mostly do. And, to be named a SMM by someone else is purely subjective, nobody will ever agree with who may or may not make the list. Even though I posted a request on facebook this morning seeking guidance, I must have already answered it for myself.
Once again it is Sunday, and without fail the day of the week Gran and I always spoke on the phone. Perhaps I would have asked her if that is what she meant if she were here today, but I doubt it. Sometimes you just don't think to ask things like this when you can. Its when you can no longer pick up that phone and make that call that rips your heart out.
Rest in peace, Helen Brantley.