Saturday, August 13, 2011



ecently I did a caricature for a friend of mine, and since he is the military type, I did a Photoshop of him into an old general character and emailed it. I got a response requesting “Mo’ Medals”.

And that got me thinking (and that is a dangerous thing).
Of course I replied with another picture with more medals that seemed to settle the power hungry, but what are these medals all about?

Medals are to the military as rewards or symbols of actions taken or places sent or combat achievements or survivals. And the military are not the only one who gives out medals.

Awards, diplomas, trophies, degrees, plaques, whatever you want to call them, everyone got them.

Maybe it was the “Best Attendance” letter in elementary school or the “I Believe in Jesus” in Vacation Bible School or the “Letter Sweater” in sports or the “1974 Best Salesman” award or any other accolade.

Titles are the same. Managers, directors, administrators, commissioners, etc. are only a description of a job but it brings self-esteem and a raise in salary. Yet in the long run, someone else will gather the title and fill the void and the job will go on.

The prestige and adornment of these images to be envied by others was only fleeting.

Years ago, I was assigned to go to a store to design an award for one of these fleeting moments. Perhaps it was to avoid a monetary reward or a sincere for appreciation for a job well done.

When I entered the store the walls were covered with awards and trophies from “Best of” to a golden donkey’s behind for the “Worse of” I completed my assignment and brought back a box full of little gold statues of white guys in suits carrying suitcases with a bunch of guys I worked with names engrained on the base.

It would be easy, I thought, to go to one of these shops and be the “Best of the Team” or “#1 Employee” or even a doctor from Yale. I started to observe other’s wall hangings and wonder, if it was really true or should I even be impressed.

And I even displayed a wall full of awards in my office because I had to do something with them. When someone would come in and express amazement on the wall, I would respond, “No, it just means I’ve been around here for awhile.” And it was true.

Looking back at some of them, after the first year, they were useless. Remember the guy who won the most Olympic medals is forgotten when the next person wins more, and all the other winners no one remembers.

You keep these recognition of accomplishments and display them and show them off to whoever is impressed by them, but when YOU go, your kids have to throw them away, because it is not for them, it is for YOU.

My one exception is a Navy Flying Cross I wear on my jacket. No, I didn’t earn it and do not deserve to wear it, but I do for my uncle who I am his namesake. He never got a chance to wear it, so I wear it so I can tell his story.

Will these medals remember you or will you be remembered for who you are? On the gravestone they put your name and the date you were born and the date that you died.

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