Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I DO therefore I am

My mother, though born in Italy was like many Vermonters, a natural philosopher. Her credo: productive work; her enemy: sloth. In her elder years my uneducated, immigrant Mom recollected my 1960's college years, when I continually doodled a three dot delta triangle with Descarte's quote, "I think, therefore, I am." One semester I doodled it over and over in my notebooks which lay open on the kitchen table. Some 30 years later, we are in a car, and while I am chatting with my business mate about slack employees, Mom's sub-conscience tunes in. Astonishingly, she proudly pipes from the back seat, "I DO, therefore I am." It was endearingly funny at the time, but a few years later as the millennium approached I took it seriously and included her aphorism in our fall newsletter as number five in my top ten of New Year resolutions. It was emailed to thousands of people. It must have been picked up by some advertising account executive, for a few years later in 2003, "I DO therefore I am” was spread out on a gigantic yellow Nextel billboard in Panama City, Florida. It was breathtaking even through my tears, as we drove away from nearby Niceville where I had just left Mom's side as she lay in her deathbed. Hauntingly true copyright.