by Shelt Garner
Reading the new U.S. Grant biography really resonates with me. For much of the 1850s, Grant was a big old nobody. He was a loser and a drunk. It was so bad that he didn’t even mention it in his landmark autobiography published soon after his death.
Or, more accurately, these days, I feel like the protagonist of Strangers With Candy (above). Or, at least, that how I fear people perceive me. I don’t really have a ready answer for that perception, either. If your metric is the traditional ones of mainstream success, then, well, I guess you got me figured out.
And, in all honesty, the point of life is to be the hero of your own story. That’s it. The moment you let others define you, you’ve give up. And, yet, I would take things one step further — Grant’s experiences in the 1850s prove that, as they say in Terminator II, “No fate but what we make.”
In less than 20 years, Grant went from a beaten down loser to President of the United States. This is something that literally happened. All he needed, of course, was, well, to win a civil war.
I don’t expect to win a civil war anytime soon, but I do know that I do have a unique skillset. I’m good at abstract thought. I’m good a strategic thought. I’m good in a crisis. Really, it’s just an issue of having an opportunity to use it at this point.
But I honestly can’t see how even if there was some earth shattering event how the roughly 100 million other people who would be in my way would part so I could have a fateful moment in the sun. Regardless, I have a novel to work on. I’m quite pleased with it. It’s a pretty good yarn. I just hope the planet doesn’t go tits up before I can try to sell it.