Wall hangers…

…sometimes pretty shit on the wall just covers up not-so-pretty parts of the wall….

Ah, credentials….the ubiquitous door-opener! Our introduction to “credentials” begins at an early age.

Perhaps it was the Gold Star on the refrigerator door, signifying a day without wet pants, fancy certificates awarded for reading a certain number of books, the “A” on the test paper, the letter sweater, the sports car, the GPA, the name of your college, your fraternity, your branch of the military and your rank and specialty….all things which were meant to set you aside from others as special. It was a series, with one leading to the next, and one’s path was determined largely by the “credentials” one was able to accumulate.

Humans have it tough. Most other animals just have to be able to fight reasonably well and piss on the right rock to get the best mate and have dibs at the kill. The human struggle never ends, though.

Most of us realized sometime during our mid twenties that what you could actually do meant more in the long run than what you looked like you could do. Once you got your foot in the door, performance mattered. You couldn’t just piss on the rock once and rest on your laurels, unless your father owned the rock.

My only relevant Wall-Hanger is the “RETIRED” sign on my door. I made my first payment into Social Security in 1958 and got my first check in 2007. Where I was and what I did in between certainly had some influence on what I saw and what I did, and how I saw it and what I did in response. I learn by doing. Instructions and permissions have never proven to be of much value for me; in fact, they often were more of a hindrance than anything else. I am who I am because of the experiences I’ve had and the choices I’ve made along the way, more often than not in spite of efforts to mold me into the proper Pavlovian citizen.

My greatest teachers were not those who threatened me with doom or tried to bribe me with permissions and gold stars, but those who had the wisdom to step aside and let me bleed, cry, pray, or curse according to the demands of the particular circumstances in which I placed myself.

My life, then, is my favorite Wall Hanger, my most valued credential. Anything else was just paperwork.


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