Sometimes you just don’t want the shiny award: Right Dylan, Allen, and Hepburn? 

I am a proud mama. My son just received citizen student of the month award at his school. He was the first one in his grade to receive it this year and it was a complete surprise to him. We had received a letter from the school notifying us of the award so that we may show up to the mid-afternoon ceremony. There was no way I would miss that.
As a kid, I received tons and tons of medals and trophies. I don’t have a single one with me. I lost them all a long time ago, when I lost most of my belongings. Occasionally, I think back to them with a sad longing. But for what specifically I’m longing I don’t know. I have no grand expectations that my son will come out like me academically or trophy-wise. We put no pressure on him to be the best or to fill every waking hour with some activity that will look great on a college application. I just want him to be happy and a good human being. I try to teach him to be both tough and compassionate. Secretly, I am hoping he will someday be the Mayor of New York.  So, let’s not tell him yet of my larger desire. Ok?
After the award ceremony he told us that he had been crossing his fingers hoping his name would be called. I was filled with joy but also dread. He’s already thinking about how he will win the next one. I just smile and tell him to keep being him. As kids and as adults many of us keep our fingers crossed for those shiny awards and glossy certificates. I for one am super competitive. But apparently not everyone likes those shiny, glossy recognitions.
Calling Bob Dylan! Maybe he too thought it was weird that he got the Nobel prize in literature. I say give it to Willie Nelson instead. I’m sure he’ll answer the call.

Remember when Marlon Brando refused to accept the Oscar for The Godfather and instead he sent a Native American actress? Well, I actually don’t remember that but have heard about it as a film nerd. It was apparently both awkward and powerful.the amazing Katherine Hepburn won 4 Oscar’s and never showed up to accept them.

Is this act of refusal charming, brilliantly political or just silly? For many, it’s in their character to refuse. Woody Allen has yet to accept an Oscar. Imagine someone that neurotic on stage holding onto the statuette.  His acceptance just wouldn’t be in keeping with his distrust if his own abilities. As for Brando, we’ll he was Brando. He was a tough guy that got bloated both in physical size and ego.  But he was great. No one else “could have been a contender”.

4 replies »

  1. Leonard (Cohen) would accept and recite some poetic account of his outstanding career. He no doubt would also pay tribute to Bob (Dylan) as a contemporary genius.
    But Leonard didn’t get the gong!
    Love a trophy also Mimi. My cupboards have been specially designed to fit the many expected ( and perhaps some unexpected) trophies, yet alas to date, the cupboards remain bereft of such things.B


  2. I guess we all succumb to peer pressure at some point in our lives. Just wait till your son enters middle school.

    My kids received quite a few academic awards and recognitions just like their old mom. Of course, all of us had worked our asses off for them. I doubt any of us did it for an “award” though I know for a fact that at least one of my daughters did it for college applications. We were pretty much all nerds in high school, with pretty low self-esteem and little self-confidence (outside of what we’d earned by working so hard academically) so there wasn’t very much else we wanted to do anyway.


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