Okay, wait a second. Am I starting to sound like Andy Rooney, late of 60 Minutes?
I keep hearing him in my head lately, as I write these blogs...
Does he ask too many questions?
I mean, how can you write an opinion column if you don't ask a few questions?
Carrie Bradshaw asked a lot of questions; and she's "cool"; right?
That little golden man with the laurel leaf is on a trophy I received in the 70's. Yes! I am an award-winning language artist from what is arguably one of the most shallow; but still literate decades of the 20th century!
I AM A WINNER OF AWARDS; THEREFORE I AM.
I am an Award Winning Person.
Why do we give awards to one another? Like, why trophies? And why are the trophies we give and receive so universally tacky? Here's a typical athletic trophy; one that seems to me, is quintessentially American:
The tropy I won in 1978 for "Language Arts" is quite diminutive. It stands about five inches or so from the bottom of the base to the top of the laurel wreath. I'm sure sure that football trophy is at least three or four feet high. And what does that say about the relative importance of the Arts and Athletics in our culture. U.S. culture, anyways. But you know, I'm glad my little trophy is little(!). His size and simplicity gives him a certain elegance, I think. He's somehow escaped fugliness. Definitely a case of less is more. He doesn't have a name. He's never had a name, since 1978. I think I will give him a name right now, because he's been part of my life for forty-four years. "I dub thee, Sir Lawrence of Laurels!"
Yes, I've had little Larry for forty-four years. Quite a few of those years were spent inside a box up in an attic; but he's still with me. Why? I couldn't help but wonder how he survived all this time. Literally, how he managed to stay upright on his base, on his little plastic tippy-toes. He finally broke off his base only last year. You can see the little globs of model glue on his tootsies.
And, I've never been quite sure of the term "Language Arts." Isn't that just "English." Like, reading and writing and vocabulary and grammar? Did it mean I was a good speaker? I mean, I was good with language; but grammar? Forget it! I remember classes on sentence diagraming. I hated it! It was like trying to impose math on to words. And me and math got along like Tom and Jerry.
But back to the ugliness of these trophies. Who designs them? Apparently someone with absolutely no sense of design. Actually, the design above is relatively tasteful compared to what I guess would be considered in some circles the "deluxe" model. Get a load of these babies!
Now, the classic bowl or cup with engraving on it is a nice choice. Always a classic. Something that can be discreetly displayed and also serve as receptacle for snack foods.
Sweden has given us a lot of actors. A lot of Skaarsgaards. I can't keep them straight. Mostly actresses. A couple of icons. Ingrid Bergman. Greta Garbo. You know, the fascination with Garbo escapes me. She wasn't that pretty and she wasn't the greatest actor.
At least the Nobel Prize is actually made of real gold. I think Oscar is at least gold plated. Little Larry Laurel is plastic, coated in yellow chromium, I suppose to approximate gold. The Olympic gold medal is made out of silver, coated with gold plate. The silver is silver. And strangely, the bronze medal is mostly copper. So, an Olympic "gold" medal is only worth around 800 bucks or so; which if you ask me, is kind of a rip-off. The Nobel medal is worth around 10 grand. Now that's dynamite! Personally, if I were to win a "high end" award; I would want it to be platinum. Or rose gold.
Which brings us to awards that have cash prizes.
The Nobel has a cash award of 1 million dollars, give or take. Perhaps that's why this prize is so coveted. I think it's a good thing. A lot of Nobel prize winners are not particularly wealthy, so the million dollars would go a long way towards helping them in their humanitarian endeavors.
Olympian medal winners do not receive cash prizes; but, they're more likely to secure endorsements after winning; which can be quite lucrative. Is snow-boarding advancing the human cause? Perhaps.
Back to design.
The Super Bowl trophy is kind of cool. Very moderne. Made by Tiffany and Co., no less. Who knew? It's worth about 10 grand (sterling silver).
Other awards that are surprisingly pleasing to the eye:
So, you'd think that the Oscars would be a go to ceremony simply for the prestige factor. But how many people go there to pick up their "swag bags" that are often worth upwards of 200,000.00 dollars? If that's not a cash prize, what is?
And what about the Golden Globes. At first they were a joke. Then they were a go to excuse to slum and get tanked and I'm guessing, more swag bags. Then, it started to be taken sort of seriously (as a marketing tool, anyways) and now it's flat out awarda-non-grata. Tom Cruise sent his Globes back; like an over-cooked steak. When Tom Cruise is willing to let go of an award all bets are off.
I had a friend in my younger days; through grammar school and into junior high. His name was Mike. Mike was a jock and he was also a bookworm and he was kind and he was good looking. He was almost too good to be true. We talked once of going to Paris together; but even as we were having the conversation, I knew it would never happen. Our friendship was unlikely and the older we got, the more unlikely it became. *SIGH* Now, I'm sure, being that he excelled at so many things he received a lot of trophies during his school days; and probably beyond. He's married now, with kids; and I can't help but wonder if he's hung on to those trophies. Are they in his attic? Or maybe they're on display in his house. In a cabinet maybe? Maybe, like Barbra Streisand, he has an "awards nook."
Which brings us back to Little Larry Laurel Leaves. I couldn't help but wonder...why had I hung on to him for most of my life? I guess because I'm proud of him. I guess because he represents something that somebody recognized in me long ago and is now, finally, coming to fruition. He is a symbol of promise, I suppose. Promise in me and the promise someone recognized. So, maybe that's why we give one another awards. To show support and encouragement and the hope that the recipient will continue to go on doing good things. No matter how long it takes.
So, having won The Sir Lawrence Award, am I now entitled to present myself as "an award winning" writer? Why not!
And that goes for everyone.
If you've ever won an award...for anything...no matter how insignificant you might think it is...think of yourself as AWARD WINNING.
Because, you know what? You won an award. And you have the trophy to prove it.