Who am I?
Why do I do the things that I do?
No man is an island. John Donne the English poet stated that. And Ernest Hemingway quoted it… and wove it into his stories as a major theme… and proceeded to try to disprove it. We need other people. I married an island girl from the island of Luzon in the Philippines. She may have actually needed me too, though she will never admit it.
When I was a young junior high school teacher in the early eighties, they called me Mr. Gilligan. My classroom was known as Gilligan’s Island. This came about because a goofball student in the very first class on the very first day said, “You look like Gilligan’s Island!” By which he meant I reminded him of Bob Denver, the actor that played Gilligan. But as he said it, he was actually accusing me of being an island. And no man is an island. Thank you, Fabian, you were sorta dumb, but I loved you for it.
You see, being Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island was not a bad thing to be. It was who I was as a teacher. Nerdy, awkward, telling stories about when I was young, and my doofy friends like Skinny Mulligan. Being a teacher gave me an identity. And Gilligan was stranded on the Island with two beautiful single women, Mary Ann and Ginger. Not a bad thing to be. And I loved teaching and telling stories to kids who would later be the doofy students in new stories.
But we go through life searching for who we are and why we are here. Now that I am retired, and no longer a teacher… who am I now? We never really find the answer. Answers change over time. And so do I.