Opinion: Unearned awards


The abundance of spam that comes through computer and smartphone screens makes it almost impossible to digest. Marketers have become increasingly clever in finding the most effective methods to gain our attention and to grab a few of our dollars. Good for them. Others, like Mr. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta universe, use sophisticated analysis of the chemistry of the human brain to entice preteenagers to become addicted to their Facebook falderal. Probably not so good for them.

Still, the best captures our imagination. An email blast from a local auction house led with a banner, “Super Sports & Memorabilia.” Accompanying it came a photo depicting a 2006 Colts championship ring. It was quite sparkly, bedazzled with diamonds and festooned with blue sapphires matching the team’s well-known horseshoe. At the very sight of it, one could imagine the toil required to earn such a trophy. One might think of the thick, muscular finger that it was likely intended to adorn. And one may consider how it came to be unceremoniously sold off to the highest bidder.

Who would purchase the spoils of another’s victory? Could it be a grateful fan intending to return it to its presently beleaguered owner? Could it be a museum or collector amassing an estate to pass on to future generations? Perhaps it is an investor imagining a future market for such expensive trinkets. What talisman are these objects? Are they imbued with the strength of their progenitors? Why do we hold them so dear if it was not our perspiration that brought forth the reward?

The span of an individual life is insufficient to outlast most of our possessions. What becomes their second life after we no longer have use for them? Are they a symbol for the human condition? Do they remind us of the struggle?


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