On Obscurity

I was at a vintage bike show last year, chatting with a talented framebuilder whose star is rising. I had bought a t-shirt from him earlier, so I mentioned before we parted ways that I was glad to have expanded my collection of obscure frame company t-shirts*.
From the look on his face it was clear he took my comment a little differently than I'd intended it. Perhaps it wasn't the best choice of words. But he was off with his family by the time I realized my fumble.

I wish I could have explained myself as well as Obama did in today's inauguration address:
Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
He described better than I can most framebuilders I've come to know. They are doers, makers of things, uninterested in riches and fame. They are obscure but they are kick-ass. Their obscurity is not a liability.  I meant it as a compliment.

This is the kind of person that I strive to be: someone who goes out and gets stuff done and doesn't make a whole lot of noise about it.

*which includes, among others:

1 comment:

Craig Ryan said...

Great post and a lofty goal.