LAUGHING ALONG WITH Ripon High School Principal Randy Hatlen at graduation are, from left, teacher James Cardinal, Superintendent Mary Whitrock and School Board member John Sperger. 									      Hannah Tetzlaff photo
LAUGHING ALONG WITH Ripon High School Principal Randy Hatlen at graduation are, from left, teacher James Cardinal, Superintendent Mary Whitrock and School Board member John Sperger. Hannah Tetzlaff photo

     A photo taken at the Pride Fun Run 5k earlier this month in Des Moines, Iowa, showed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke nearing the finish line as he holds up his camera to record the moment.

     This begs a few questions:

     Will this help him become president?

     Might O’Rourke have had a better kick at the finish had he worried less about fun and more about run? ...

     Democrat O’Rourke is the same fellow who live-streamed his visit to the dentist on Instagram. To be fair, the exercise was designed to tell the tooth about his dental hygienist’s experience growing up near the U.S.’s southern border.

     Whether running a race or having a cavity filled, is there anywhere that is free from self-chronicling?

     Do we need to view Elizabeth Warren on Instagram live looking at the camera as she says, “Hold on a sec; I’m going to get me a beer,” or Cory Booker grocery shopping after a day of campaign events?

     Obviously these presidential wannabes are marketing themselves to demonstrate they’re just like us.

     In a sense, they are. We, too, often play adult show-and-tell with our daily deluge of Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram videos.  

     But such self-promotion — and it is that — risks turning portions of our lives into reality shows, where our next meal, visit to a concert or proctology exam is insufficiently gratifying unless we can tell others how wonderful it is to be us.

     In his 5-minute talk to Ripon High School graduates in May, Principal Randy Hatlen encouraged students to realize that the little moments — spending time with family and friends, enjoying a first cup of coffee in the morning, walking a dog or enjoying a meal at a favorite restaurant — not only can be more meaningful than big events, but also so special that they need to be appreciated and embraced fully for their own, inherent value.

     “The next 10 years are going to fly by in a flash,” Randy told graduates. “I ask each one of you to slow down and enjoy the little things. I sometimes think that because of technology we are recording our experiences instead of enjoying them. And because of social media, we’re trying to one-up each other, posting our highlights and not being in the moment, not really [maximizing] the experience.”

     Be sufficiently self-confident, he told them, to have the strength of character to resist the temptation to compete with others in the my-life-is-better sweepstakes. And realize that sometimes it’s the quiet, personal moments that eclipse the public extravaganzas.

     “Sometimes as we get older we forget that everyone enjoys the daily, little things of life,” Randy said. “We try to outdo each other, or try to outdo ourselves, when it’s not necessary.” ...
               
                                   — Tim Lyke

To read the entire editorial, see the June 27, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.