The word “minion” just doesn’t sound too attractive. The first time I heard it I had no idea what it meant. However, if you’re anything like me, I look into how a word is said more than the Webster definition. The circumstance and context said more than the Webster to me.
Minion noun – min·ion | \ ˈmin-yən. Merriam-Webster Definition: 1: a servile dependent, follower, or underling. (// ‘He’s one of the boss’s minions’); 2: one highly favored : Idol. (// ‘his great charity to the poor renders him the minion of the people’ — Jonas Hanway); 3: a subordinate (see Subordinate) or petty official (//government minions).
So here’s where my bias weighs in. Does it? This is where you start thinking. I never wanted to be a minion. In fact years later, my mother conveyed my father’s frustration with me as a young boy – “Nobody’s ever going be able to tell that kid what to do!” And I won’t dispute that underlying, possible sub-conscious demon, lurking in my psyche through years of encounter after encounter with power in a variety of forms. One of three possible sources in my conscious exploration was having watched my father wrestle with the “the powers that be” when I was young.
The community needed tolerance to thrive. More accurately, the big fish in a small pond,“the powers that be”, needed my father to look the other way, to be more tolerant. A smart eye on the shadow economy, the affairs running through beneath the eye of the common man of the area, sustained the game that elevated their lives above the minions. The pawns to the game needed the big fish to keep the status quo.
The affluent in the larger cities created economy for the regions between these larger centers. Kansas City was a great place to setup shop at one point, being conveniently located between Chicago and Las Vegas. Such places extended like fingers from these economic centers. The revenues flowing from the larger cities that moved through these surrounding regions. My home town, Springfield, became a center for education, business and medical care. It was one of those landing pads for those who had an allure to being their own boss by being a big fish in a smaller pond. So a select few fled the larger pools where they had once been minions to Springfield, which was nicknamed, “The Queen City”.
My preference for independence may have been sewn in my early boyhood when I watched my father. Some may be able to look into my planetary composition and see it in how my biology filters neutrinos, but that’s not the point here. The point is to work with what we know, or the remnants left for us to work with so we can become our own minions. Really? Back to the point here … He was a rising star in the local community of mostly common, uneducated blue-collar, people just getting by on the verge of poverty in the farm and dairy country of the Ozark Mountains in Southwest Missouri. He stumbled innocently into a job in law enforcement, being a young husband and father. Focusing his intense detective mind on crime he uncovered more that he reckoned and was unwilling to bargain or compromise to benefit from it.
So it’s not important in this piece to embellish the characters involved here. This is more of message to help illuminate the path for others to find freedoms my father never found. In fact, this dynamic lurking beneath my psyche for years has wreaked havoc. My instincts say it also attracted a lot of rich, smart and powerful, and even exquisitely beautiful people and posed many distractions into my life over the years.
Somehow this brings the words of my high school football coach to mind. He was a simple, extremely military minded, ex-sailor. He seemed to have the ability to manage all the politics around the administration of high school sports between the “big fish” and the minions. I’d been good enough he said we just needed to pick up the phone and tell any college. The world was my oyster. Right? But the last thing he ever said was, “Mark, just get that education and remember that out there in the world there’s always going to be someone bigger and faster.” That played out to be true of much more that football.
So here’s to developing your own freedom from your demons, those yet-to-be-discovered biases and preferences that operate in your shadows, or perhaps in the shadows of those for whom you befriend and love.
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