Culture

A pet peeve: Living off of a legacy long since past

This rant I’m about to embark on has been a long time coming. It’s been brewing, stewing and marinating in my brain. My tongue has wanted to lash out 1001 times but I’ve shown remarkable restraint. This shall be my “about a boy” discussion.

Have you seen the movie or television show called “About a Boy”? The general premise is that a slacker lives off of his past legacy as a songwriter. Well, in the movie Hugh Grant lives off of a jingle penned by his daddy. Even slightly more pathetic. The movie and television show were quirky, coming of age bits that made you sigh happily. Especially, back in Hugh Grant’s heyday as his own personal life had a few “quirky” moments as well. Now these are fine stories for a screen. However, in real life such behavior and personalities are completely off-putting. 

I know about 10 people that are living off of their 20 year plus legacies. One that I know, thinks he is a fabulous spy in the making due to a few years in the military 28 years ago. Do the math and you’ll see my point. It’s like if I went around saying I have a great legal mind and totally understand impeachment processes because I was an intern at the Department of Justice 20 years. And no, I wasn’t that type of intern. 

Then I know others who did a great undertaking that was visionary at time, twenty years ago, and then keep expecting accolades till this day. I think their business cards may even note that legacy.  Forget about the fact that some are barely a blip where they are at now. 
Consider this. I have an acquaintance who till this day, 20 years after meeting him, that still talks about his model girlfriend in high school. He wears his model-dating experience (that has yet to be replicated) as a badge of honor. I listen. I smile. I love the conversation on. 

I don’t want to deny people their opportunities to feel good about themselves. I understand the need to ego boost. In small doses it can be healthy. What I don’t appreciate is the hubris, the arrogance and condescension with which these types of individuals act towards others. They often think they can – or should- be the puppet masters.  Yet, they fail to realize that they serve as a puppet to their sad state of being. 

I get angry. Then I feel pity further type of people. I’m not too sure those are the emotions they hope to pull from others. I don’t want to be the bubble burster. I haven’t been put on this earth to hurt people,  no matter how insufferable they are.  But I sure would like to do and say what Cher did to Nicholas Cage’s character in the movie Moonstruck. 

12 replies »

  1. I feel like those people hang on to their legacy because they haven’t done anything as good to date. They feel inadequate. It’s like they hit their prime too early. It’s like those kids who play varsity football and then their whole life the only thing they have to talk about is the senior homecoming game. I think they are afraid that they’ll never match up, but unfortunately they just make themselves look really stupid. I hope for their sakes, they can eventually do “great” things again…or at least realize that some “great” things are actually disguised as little everyday accomplishments.

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  2. I worked with a woman whose great accomplishment of her life was winning the Mrs. state beauty pageant when she was 32. When I worked with her last year, she had just turned 60. She was a lovely person, but the only thing she ever talked about was her appearance and this accomplishment she’d had nearly 30 years prior. Although aggravating, it eventually made me sad for her because that, in her mind, was the only thing worth mentioning as a great accomplishment in her life. She had brains and many other qualities, but this pageant seemed like it was the watershed of her life and nothing since then ever equaled it. Your post reminded me of her, and the importance of always challenging ourselves and moving forward and valuing all the things we’ve done in our lives.

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  3. If it’s any comfort, and by way of contrast, I can’t really think of anything that could act as my “claim to fame.” Perhaps it would be my appearance on Jeopardy, if only I hadn’t lost to a mail carrier from Oklahoma!😂

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  4. I knew such a person a few years ago. He had briefly been in some local band, one of those ones where the lead singer screams like a small demonic child who has been lit on fire. He liked to talk about this incessantly. One day I just couldn’t listen anymore. I said, “Dude, we’re both waiting tables now. I don’t care.”

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