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  • Writer's pictureH. Rick Goff

Everybody I Know

Just for grins, I recently started a list of all the people I know. The list included family members, distant cousins (guess they are family members), all categories of friends (old military buddies, old girlfriends, golfing buddies, fishing buddies, bus/train stop friends (yup there were people I only knew or saw while waiting for the bus or train for the commute to work in NYC), classmates, former co-workers, acquaintances, church members, favorite teachers/professors, and anybody else that came to mind. It was an interesting drill that took a surprising turn.

Before I was done, I had a list of over 400 people! I've been around awhile (meaning I'm old haha) so I was not surprised at the number, but I thought to myself, there is no way I "know" 400 people. Then I asked myself again, how many of these people do I really know? As you would imagine the list shrank significantly. With this new list, I asked myself the question again; how many of "these" people do I really really know? And of course, the list shrank again. I did this several times and was not surprised at how the list consistently shrank every time I asked if I really knew the people I had listed. I then tried to clarify what I meant by knowing someone. I attempted to put parameters on my own question, but I knew exactly what I was asking. As I became more honest with myself, I realized I had left one person off the list, the one and only person I truly know--myself!

The list became an afterthought and now the drill became somewhat of a self-analysis. I guess the only person I really know is Me. I know the good, the bad, and the ug-o-ly. I know my likes and dislikes. I know what makes me sad and I know what makes me happy. I know what excites me and I know what upsets me. I know what motivates me and what drags me down. I know the type of people I like to hang around and the type of people I would prefer not to be around. I know my shortcomings and I know my best attributes. I know the people that have shaped my life for better and for worse. I also know about the people I have disappointed or hurt (I also concluded that I don't get to decide if I hurt someone or not--they do!). I know my good habits and I know my bad habits. I know I am very decisive most of the time, but I know I can also be indecisive in some situations. I know I love adventure but I also know sometimes I take unnecessary risks (hiking/fishing alone in remote locations, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, trying to ice skate).

I also know I can surprise myself! I do silly stuff and sometimes act out of character. Like at a recent concert, the performer asked for people to come on stage and only women went up. She asks for a few men to join in and before I knew it, I was out of my seat and headed to the stage. Of course, I tried to hang in the back and not be seen. But she saw me and pulled me out front and made me dance on stage! I had a flashback and pulled out some of my old school moves and for a few minutes I was in the zone and even shocked myself. When I came to, I quickly slunk back into the crowd. I heard there was a video somewhere, but I'll deny it's me if it ever shows up!

It took awhile to get here, but I feel comfortable knowing who I am and what I am about.

It's ironic that in trying to list everybody I know, I forgot the only person I truly know, Me!

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