Monday 4 November 2013

Working in Ottawa today --What Legacy will you leave?

Good morning folks,

I am working in Ottawa today, and Montréal later this week.  This Pulp is a catchup from last week's non-travel.  Yes, I also failed to publish anything the week before while I was away in Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, and briefly Vancouver.

A close friend of mine laid his mom to rest last week and Sharlene and I went to the service, internment and shiva.  Interesting, my friend's mom had prepared her own eulogy.

Now one can make quips about a good Jewish mom always maintaining control and order (actually the quips work for all ethnic and cultural groups' moms), but I think that this was a great idea, for all of us.

If we all were to sit down right now with pen and paper would we be happy with what we wrote, this short narrative of our life?

Maya had a wonderful life and much to be proud of, she pursued education, her private practice, motherhood, authorship, and spirituality all on her own terms and near as I or anyone else could tell, achieved what she set out to do.

But what about the rest of us?  What legacy do we leave to our community, our family, our friends?  I have much to be pleased with as anyone, a loving wife, 2 wonderful daughters, a handsome grandson, a small set of good friends, a well ordered garage and an oasis backyard and finally a carbonated mineral water recipe that I find damned tasty but what legacy?  Years from now and someone researches telecom in Canada will they find my picture, name, or even a footnote?

Certainly we achieve a certain immortality through our children and their children, just as my great-great-great grandfather that left Scotland years ago has.  But is there something more than a continued blood line diluted by half with each new generation? 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 -- that's even enough to make a bit of cheese on your burger Kosher.

It is said that we all die twice, once with our last breath, and once on the final uttering of our name. To achieve immortality, you need to have done, said, or wrote something particularly memorable, whether judged good or bad, immortality.  Just ask Benedict Arnold or Plato.

Since the start of man's (the non gender specific term) time on earth, there has been 107 billion born and 100 billion dead (yes, 7 billion still alive).  Even if we read and know of 5,000 notable persons the sheer probability that anyone has achieved that immortality is 5/100,000,000.  May as well buy lottery tickets (I don't usually except as stocking stuffers - they are a tax on ppl with bad statistics skills).

So what is left?  I am not interested in this to becoming a debate on creation/heaven/hell/void, but rather centering the thoughts on this planet, this realm of existence.

It could be that in the end, all that we can hope for is that when we judge ourselves that we meet our own standards and that we have been true to ourselves.  Hopefully those standards that we set are for the betterment of all.

Have a good day, start on your own eulogies.


  1. Wonderfully said Daniel.

  2. Thanks Daniel, good words

  3. My aunt wrote her ow too, but she was bitter. Sad way to finish