It was a joke, really, something I keep telling myself when I’m reminded of something that happened several weeks ago. And I laugh everytime.
The line was made famous by Tolkien, having been uttered by none other than Gandalf, that rowdy wizard, whose fondness for pipeweed and wine is as famous as his powers and cunning. But the title Wizard fits him perfectly, an honorific bestowed on individuals with the skill and knowledge, the decisive actions, and the pondering of the consequences.
Everybody wants one.
That group of letters that you write in front, or in most cases, after your name. The words that fill one’s profile page on any social network accounts. The phrases we use to direct people to our achievements and milestones. The taglines we thought would make us look cool and worldly. Stuff that project an image of being larger than life.
Even with my own issues with authority, I do value and respect those that have earned these titles – Engineers, Doctors, Professors, Sempai – to name a few.
But there are people who flaunt their titles, even temporary ones, with too much fervor and arrogance, it feeds their ego and presumed worth to grow in preposterous proportions. Self love is one thing, but when it borders on Narcissism, it becomes a sort of masturbation, and that all too familiar me-first mentality just makes me chuckle . One such person, after some heated exchanges, manage to squeeze in a line that I have heard several times before, in different instances –
“Hanggang d’yan ka lang.“
(That is all you will ever be.)
Should I have been offended? Absolutely not. I may have been furious before that, but when this person asked me to apologize, I nearly burst out with gratuitous gales of laughter. For it was only then that I realized I was dealing with another one of those who think themselves above everybody else, much like Saruman forgetting that the real power lies within The Eye, and he is only in its employ. No better than the orc he kicked to get on with his assigned duties.
What’s funny is that he almost took the stance of the a wizard stopping me, the Balrog in this story, from taking any step further, and with his own belief that I can be no more that what I am now.
Oh, I could have said something like ” I was here before you.” but that would come off as me being arrogant. In movies , this is the time I could have mouthed off some really heavy, press worthy stuff I have done in the past. But it’s not me. So I let it slide. He’s still young. He will have to deal with burnout and middle age in his own time. Let him have his Gandalf moment. I would like to be the wizard, but then I’d be much happier being Balrog, or Gene Simmons‘ Demon, or Ozzy for that matter.
And I’m laughing again.
Because, when someone tells me to go no further, that’s the time I leap ahead, grasp whatever handhold there is on the other side of the cliff and pull myself up. I am more of an Arakeen than Harkonnen. If Arrakis throws me sandstorms, I curl and wait it out. Not squeamish to get wet and wade in the flood. I have sustained bruises, burns and scabs from too many failures and setbacks, I have gotten the knack of standing up.
Time to reinvent myself again.