Suicidal Behaviors

Given Waldo’s definition of suicide below, I’m quite the suicidal fellow. However, this particular version of self-annihilation I’ve used as a springboard.

I spent an inordinate amount of time in this building. When I was at C. W. Post and working on my Master’s Degree, I was in a cohort with nine other students. Because we took all the same classes at the same time, we got to be quite the well-known little group among the Education Department staff, not to mention the Speech Department and a couple of others. And as we came to be a known element, we each slipped into our own roles within the group. One of us, the only other guy, was the rebel Bad Boy type. One was the Ivory Girl because she reminded you of the women in those commercials,  a sort of fresh-scrubbed All-American type. One was the Mom (naturally). One was the Organizer, who set up the graduation party we threw ourselves.

NEVER did I make it look this good. One of our professors dubbed me The Divergent Thinker, because nobody knew what was going to come out of my mouth at any given time. I had this odd habit, and a “tell” which the others learned to watch for: I’d take a point from the lecture and start turning it over and over in my head, run it through a few permutations and then suddenly I’d have a question. Of course, it was several minutes later, so the question, while reasonable, usually felt as though it was out of the blue. My tell was that I’d start biting on my pen. Once I did that, I was told, they knew that my hand was about to go into the air.

This is still a habit of mine, although I’m learning to channel it into making my own work better. Start with the intention of imitating, then work it and massage it and make it into something a little more mine. By the time it’s popped back out, the originator would have very little idea that it was their own work that was the nucleus of what I’d presented. And while good writers borrow, and great writers steal outright, perhaps it’s time that I spent a little more time seeking the Original Me.


Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?