30 September 2010

That's Great.

I wrote this for a class.  The prompt was "What is 'greatness'?"

I decided to put it here, 'cause... it's midnight?  (Yeah! Take that! Validated!)

That’s Great
The word liters our most common sentences.
            “I’m doing great.”
            “It was a great movie.”
            “Oh great, now what?”
It is on the standard-issue list of basic English vocabulary.  It was one of the first words to earn a text-message abbreviation.
            “U r crzy! Lol! That soundz g8!”
It is the word we use to describe the man responsible for the growth of the Roman Empire, and the time period that drained pockets and the spirits of people throughout the world.
It is a compliment.
It is an adjective.
It is quite a lot of things.

But what is it?  What makes something qualify as great?
In creations of the arts, in discoveries of science, in defining-times of history, the things we consider significant have recurring themes.
The Mona Lisa.
Beethoven’s Fifth.
The name of a great artwork spikes the attention of our memories.  The names are familiar to us, and in many cases we can see a famous painting, or hear a famous composition in our minds, subconsciously reminding us what the piece is.  The work becomes an essential part of our culture, even after centuries of new creations.  It stays with us.
Whether commonplace or incomprehensible, our lives are affected by the great discoveries of science.  Revolutionary thinkers develop ideas that change our lives.  We accept the theories.  We take advantage of the wisdom.  We enjoy the comforts.
            The Revolutionary War.
            The Gutenberg Press.
Great moments in history are recorded, then published in textbooks years later. The moments that change the course of our world are studied, taught, remembered.  Nations are formed.  Dreams become possibilities.

What the world deems great, the world remembers.  The world is affected by greatness, and by greatness the world is changed.

And yet, when my 10-year-old brother tells me about his imaginative plan for inventing the best-ever fighter-plane, I give him my honest opinion: “That’s a great idea!”  No world will remember the invincible armor.  No world will be changed by the five-million-miles-per-hour speed.  But his idea is great.
My world will remember.  His world changes mine.  For me, there is significance; for me, there is greatness.

The end.

13 September 2010


August isn't a good month.

Good stuff happens in August, but August isn't a good month.
  • It's hot.  
  • It's long.
The weather of August is atrocious.  On many days, the temperature inside a living human being is cooler than the temperature out of doors.  To make matters worse, the air doesn't do anything but stand there and bake.  There is very little wind chill, and the stagnant air becomes hard to breath.  Clouds are only seen on very special occasions.  Even then, they are either too thin, or too far from the sun to help much with the temperature.

August drags by.  Shorter months follow the ones with 31 days.  Exceptions: August and January.  January has a good excuse.  It's the reset month, and shorty-little-February makes up for it anyway.  August is long just because.

So why do we have August (other than 'cause Cœsar Augustus put it there)? Good things do happen in August, but I think the reason it's there is so that September can be well appreciated.  When Julius and Augustus bumped the seventh month out of its spot, I think it got a blessing-in-disguise.

Whether you like warm or cold weather, September is happy to accommodate you.  September hosts "Indian Summer," and the Autumnal Equinox.  By definition, September is where hot meets cold.  

On top of that, September is gorgeous.  The days get shorter, the bugs either die or hide, the scenery catches ignites with a fire that cools instead of burns.  But it still makes things satisfyingly crisp: crisp apples are eaten, crisp air is no longer a struggle to inhale, crisp leaves are stepped upon, often for their crisp sound.

To quote Regina Spektor in 'Time is All Around':
Leaves become most beautiful when there about to die,
When they're about to fall from trees, 
When they're about to dry

That happens in September.  And 'that' is nothing short of magic.  It's September.  It's a good month.

Bad stuff does happen in September.  But still:
September is a good month.

So there?