Acclaim of the Ages

Trophies come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some we cherish for a lifetime; others take a less vaunted although prideful place in our pantheon of memories. And then, there are those of a more dubious nature—symbols we’d just as soon disassociate from. But the trophies that delight me the most are the unintended trophies, the trophies to which others ascribe a prowess not previously acknowledged or, perhaps, even presumed. These are the trophies of note.


Take, for instance, the following: a vacationing friend was relaxing in a spa, quietly enjoying her pedicure, when the woman at the next chair looked at my friend’s left hand and exclaimed,  “Wow! You must be great in the sack to have a ring like that!” The level of admiration expressed left my friend so dazzled that she was momentarily speechless, followed by a cheshire cat grin. Silence invites so much, doesn’t it?


And then there’s this: the story of two mild-mannered, senior citizens who were marrying at home before a small group of friends and family. This being pre-MP3 days, the groom had brought a cassette player to provide the music for the wedding march. A hushed crowd assembled ready to witness the bride advance down the aisle. The play button was triggered, and out blasted several choruses of The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” (To the chagrin of the groom, Mendelssohn’s work was on the other side.)


In eighth grade, I was part of a small coterie of girls who bonded over the shared, shameful fact that we had never been kissed. We called ourselves The Elite Club and refused to explain the meaning of our group’s appellation. Alas, it was only years after graduating from high school that we discovered, to our unmitigated shock and horror, that our club was known by some over at the boys’ school who had imputed an entirely different meaning to the word “elite.”


Trophies and reputations are funny things. The impressions we form from them can be dead on or wildly off-base. And then, there’s the question of what to do with them once you have them? Do you embrace the inaccurate reputation or try to correct it? What’s even more telling is one’s attachment to old triumphs—are they now scorned in their entirety or preserved as proof of former salad days? What if you manufacture ways or categories to gain new prized ribbons?


I readily admit I still have a miniature “Captain of Patrols” pin I was given in sixth grade; I must also confess that I cannot find my high school diploma—anywhere.  And as for that Elite Club reputation? Well, let sleeping dogs lie. How about you? What surprise trophies or reputations do you have? Do you wish they had never manifested or secretly prize their existence? Personally, I believe that a fantastic use for old trophies is to turn them into lamps—if they’re going to take up space, they may as well be useful.



One Response to “Acclaim of the Ages”

  1. sbcardinal Says:

    HEY! Quit stealing my anecdotes. 😉

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