I've always been a bit too much. I'm too loud, too brash, too emotional, too outspoken, and too sensitive. People will remind me of these things from time to time, and I usually reply that I am very aware. My voice was often the one that was heard above the rest, and I took the fall for the group more than once. The old Catholic guilt usually prevented me from informing the disciplinarian that it wasn't just me, because deep-down I knew that I deserved it. I don't think people understand that I know how much and how often I run my mouth. And I have dug more than one hole for myself that has swallowed me up like a Florida sinkhole. I understand I have to live with the consequences, and some of the pills I've had to swallow have been more bitter and chalky than baby aspirin. I've tried to reign myself in over the years, but at some point you realize you are who you are. And for every person I've PO'd with my too-muchiness, there are people who tell me that I've made their day. My goal is to break even, but have a sinking suspicion there's a karmic tsunami heading for my coastline.
My current reality-TV obsession is the TLC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" It features mostly B-list celebrities digging into their past to reconstruct their family tree and answer some sort of questions they may have about their ancestors. It's basically an hour-long commercial for Ancestry.com, but they got me. I'm all-in. So far, they have found that one of Kelly Clarkson's ancestors was a teetotaling state senator, that Zooey Deschanel's ancestor's house was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that Chris O'Donnell's ancestor was at Fort McHenry for the defining battle of the War of 1812, when they raised the Star Spangled Banner that inspired our national anthem. I have always loved history, and it's the personal stories that get me. I've blubbered like a baby at the end of more than one episode, I'm sorry to admit. And it was during last week's episode that I finally figured out what it is that makes me so emotional. Something that all childless people have to come to terms with is that our story is not one for the ages. Anything I have accomplished or done goes with me. And it's effect will not linger long after I'm gone. But the thing that chokes me up is that nobody is ever going to come looking for me. At no time in the future is somebody going to be digging around in a dusty archive searching for the details of my life. I will forever be one of the nameless relatives in the group shot of some other persons great-great grandparent's wedding. In an ugly green dress.
Now, there are two groups of people out there in the clearance aisle. There are the people who are childless by choice, and those that are by circumstance. At my age most people fall into the first category. I am a member of the minority second group. It becomes difficult to find people who actually like kids, but don't have them. Or who do have them and don't mind taking a chance on someone who doesn't. I never could have imagined it was this difficult to find a hidden gem in the clearance aisle. Nor would I have imagined that someone wouldn't have recognized my potential. So, I'm still out there. Wading through the sale items. You can find me pretty easily - I'll be the one laughing and talking way too loud.
I've recently decided that maybe the reason I'm a bit too much is that I only have my mortal years. Posterity won't remember anything about me, so my footprint has to be just a little bit bigger while I'm actually up and walking.