I remember one afternoon, riding in the back of the family’s old, red station wagon. Turned to face the window, I watched the landscape as we passed by. We were driving through town. It was summer and we had been brought along to ‘help’ Mum with her errands in town. I always thought though that it was more that they just wanted to get us off the farm for a while, especially while Dad would be working down there by himself, he wouldn’t be able to watch us as well. Always I had hated these trips. Unless there was the promise of going to the movies or something of the sort, it was a long, boring day in which we spent a lot of the time in the car in over thirty-five degree weather, driving between errands. It left my blonde strands sticking to my skin and a constant paranoia at the threat of my fair skin being burnt.
I was watching the buildings pass, unenthusiastically. Then I saw one building that caught my attention. It was just a small, dusty, box-like store that looked like it wasn’t earning enough, like the other stores to its side. This one had ‘Trophies’, written in big, triumphant letters across the front window, behind which gold, plastic figures towered. At first I think I may have laughed, amused and confused at the concept. But then I understood what it meant: you could buy trophies. You didn’t have to earn it. You didn’t have to compete in any event. You didn’t have to be the best. You could simply buy yourself a trophy. For a moment I thought that this was a tempting idea. I didn’t have to compete; I didn’t have to be the best. But then I realised that if I could buy it, anyone could buy it. Anyone could have a trophy; and if anyone had a trophy, no one may as well have one because they would not be worth anything. What was the value in a recognition that you could buy for no cause?