Who is the hero after whom I should model myself?
Like most Catholics, I’m named after a saint; in my case, St. Stephen the first martyr. He was a man of unquenchable faith who suffered death by stoning (still another particularly gruesome way to die) at the hands of the Jewish leaders. While I am happy to call upon St. Stephen to put in a good word for me when it suits my situation, I’m afraid that the resemblance ends there. I confess that faced with a mob carrying rocks with ill intentions I would not only have turned and run; I would have been screaming at the top of my lungs an octave or three higher than my normal speech.
So, although I admire the saints, I do not claim any particular identity with them.
As you know, I also admire this nation’s founding fathers, so I looked there for someone with whom to identify. We all start with George Washington, but other than serving in uniform we unfortunately have very little in common. Then there is John Adams, with whom I at least share a physical resemblance; neither of us are truly tall, dark and handsome (or thin.) However, his mind was keen on legal matters, which tend to cause my blood pressure to rise and my attention to fall. Thomas Jefferson? Far too organized and quiet to have a kinship with me.
So as I cast about, I tried to come up with the best role model for someone of my age. There was only one choice.
He was prolific! (i.e. his attention wandered from subject to subject; from optics to furnaces to electricity.)
He was educated! (Although most of his useful knowledge came from his own studious pursuits that reached beyond the teachings of the day.)
He was a family man! (Except for the minor fact that his son and he were on opposite sides of the Revolutionary War.)
He was a true American who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution! (However, he seemed to fit in best during his time as Ambassador to France.)
Here’s the prototypical American. Spread too thin among a number of occupations and vocations, prone to writing, although not necessarily serious material and certainly not the most cautious person (remember the kite and thunderstorm incident?)
He and I have a great kinship!
Now if I could just develop his talent.