Collecting Nobodies

Quoted from Lilian Jackson Braun's book, "The Cat Who Said Cheese".

Emily Dickinson, we need you!

"I'm nobody. Who are you?" said this prolific American poet.

I say, "God give us nobodies! What this country needs is fewer celebrities and more nobodies who live ordinary lives, cope bravely, do a little good in the world, enjoy a few pleasures, and never, never get their names in the newspaper or their faces on TV."

We crave heroes to admire and emulate, and what do we get? A parade of errant politicians, mad exhibitionists, wicked heiresses, overpaid athletes, untalented entertainers, non-authors of non-books...

Collecting nobodies makes a satisfying hobby. Unlike diamonds, they cost nothing and are never counterfeited. Unlike first editions of Dickens, they are in plentiful supply. Unlike Chippendale antiques, they occupy no room in the house.

How do you recognize a nobody? You see a stranger performing an anonymous act of kindness and disappearing without a thank-you. You hear spontaneous words of wit or wisdom from an unlikely source. I remember an elderly man walking with a cane in downtown Pickax when the wind velocity was forty miles an hour, gusting to sixty. We sheltered in a doorway, and he said, "The wind knocked me down in front of the courthouse, but I don't mind because it's part of nature."

I began my own collection of nobodies Down Below, my first being a thirteen-year-old boy who did all the cooking for a family of eight. The next was a woman bus driver who set her brakes, flagged down another bus, and escorted a bewildered passenger onto the right one.

One word of caution to the novice collector of nobodies: Avoid mentioning your choice collectibles to the media. If you do, your best examples will become celebrities overnight, and there's no such thing as a prominent nobody. End

I have started my own collection and my first is a sixteen-year-old young man who I recently met who has his own computer business and has gone out of his way to help me with my computer, lives at home, does homeschooling because he says "the world is crazy and I learn more at home". He works hard and is a genuine nobody hero.

Please feel free to tell us about your collection of nobodies but remember NO NAMES as we don't want the media to find them!


Char / Stitchary! said...

I adore this entry. I'm going to start collecting these now.

Davyd said...

I first began to collect nobodies after reading The Cat Who Said Cheese and have since inserted a lot of love and happiness into my own life through watching my little collection grow. It has even extended to non human nobodies with the discovery late last summer of a kind old farmer and a wonderful little horse who looked past the breed boundary and took in a small fawn whose mother had been killed by a speeding car near my home. It was I who had found the mother deer laying lifeless and knowing she had recently had a fawn, set out through the forest the next afternoon to see if I could find the little one and give it a bottle feeding. Imagine my shock when I reached the back of the wood where it bordered onto a small farm holding and saw a quaint little foaling stall and, upon closer inspection an aged, slump shouldered mare standing quietly in the sun whilst the small fawn I had been searching for suckled hungrily below her. So shocked was I by this sight I searched out the farmer to ask the story behind it all. He laughed and told me he had found the foal near his home that morning and had concieved to try to get some milk from his old mare who had lost her foal at birth just two days prior. The little fawn had apparently come along for the walk, no doubt sensing the kindness in the heart of this man and had followed him right into the large pen where the mare was kept. The young fawn had stood calmly in the face of this animal that outweighed it by a staggering 900 pounds and bleated pitifully at her. According to the farmerm this kind little mare had submitted the fawn to a thourough sniffing and bath and then simply sidled over to allow it to drink. I watched the odd pairing all through the fall months as the young baby grew strong with the plentiful supply of mares milk. as these things do, the fawn grew up and moved off, the mare was moved to a warm barn for the winter months and my visits ceased, but I shall never forget the kindness of the small time farmer who saved the life of a small fawn simply because it was "the right the to be doing"