Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Hope They At Least Spell My Name Right When I Die

by Brendan Cavanagh

Another week at Classic Brian has now come and gone, and each of the preceding six writers have offered up their individual, unique methods of preserving either their name or body for eternity. So far, I've seen mentions of self-immolation, bareback elephant-riding, and Jason Statham-inspired, adrenaline-fueled exponentiation. I tip my hat to my fellow Classic Brian writers, and I hope whether or not they adhere to the plans they've blogged about, they one day achieve their desired immortality.

As for me, cross-generational, international fame is not really my cup of tea. While it would certainly be nice to attain some sort of prosperity or prestige, doing so is not my foremost ambition. Rather, I have a few central goals: to inspire students through teaching English, to start a close-knit family and maybe write on the side. I'm in no hurry to complete these tasks; instead I will enjoy the thrill of pursuit of their completion. Of course, there are myriad other little things I want to do here and there, which will fit intermittently into the overall journey.

I figure as long as I remain passionate about the people and things I care about, as long as I remain humble and decent to others throughout my life, I will have made a difference. As a teacher, I hope to inspire younger generations to embrace the emotional and intellectual fulfillment of obtaining a proper education and seeking out Wisdom and Knowledge. As a family man, I want to be revered and respected for my actions and interactions with family members and hopefully serve as a model for how my progeny's families should function. By traveling and being exposed to numerous distinct cultures, I plan to develop a better understanding of the human condition, which hopefully makes me a better person and a superior writer. If my writing- including blog posts, essays and poems- has the capacity to influence another individual in a positive fashion, then I will have done my job.

Essentially, I do not desire any sort of fame or legendary status. If I achieve immortality, that's great! I just hope it arises out of affability towards others and a genuine passion for what I do.

A fitting representation of how I feel can be found in one of the closing scenes of Greg Mottola's low-key, 2009 coming-of-age film, Adventureland. In this scene, the protagonist, James, and his colleague / friend from the amusement park, Joel, discuss nominal immortality (beginning at 2:40):

Let it be noted that this clip is in Spanish (my bad), but I'm going to leave it up anyway.

Joel: What's the point of being a writer or an artist anyway? Herman Melville wrote fuckin' Moby Dick, he was so poor and forgot by the time he died that in his obituary they called him Henry Melville. You know, like why bother? They're just going to forget our fuckin' names anyway. I heard Em went back to New York.
James Brennan: I wish it didn't end like that, I should've - I don't know.
James Brennan: Your Herman Melville story that - that's bullshit.
Joel: It's true, they called him Henry.
James Brennan: No, I mean, he wrote a seven-hundred page allegorical novel about the whaling industry. I think he was a pretty passionate guy, Joel. I hope they call me Henry when I die, too.
Joel: One can only hope.

as long as i know that the ones who are close to me care about me enough to remember my name i am set. they better at least spell it right. There's no "u" or "b" in Cavanagh.


  1. 1. Nice, posting the film clip in Spanish. Or was it just me?
    2. If I wanted to misspell your name, where would I put the "b"?
    3. You are in serious danger of sounding more mature than your colleagues.


  2. I was in a hurry and didn't listen to the clip. Maybe it will give the transcribed portion of the script some sort of visual aesthetic? Or some practice for their nearest Spanish exam.

    When I spell my name out loud, a lot of people seem to think I say, "C-a-b-a-n-a-g-h." Perhaps I should enunciate more clearly, like my dad always told me.

    Mature? More like a self-cognizant mortal! ha.......ha.

  3. Eliot already used being a teacher. You have to choose something different.