The Hero Within

Malcolm's Corner

Stoner

In the last few weeks I have read Andersonville, a story about the notorious Confederate prisoner-of-war camp; Augustus, a historical narrative exploring the life of the founder of the Roman Empire; and Stoner, a novel about a man whose life, measured by modern-day metrics, was an abject failure. These works have reminded me how grateful I am to be ordinary.

So much of our life is dependent on contingency that I feel privileged not to have suffered like the prisoners in Andersonville, but I’m also grateful that fate never selected me, as it did Augustus, to play a significant role on the world stage, nor for that matter, an insignificant one. I would not have wanted to banish my daughter to an isolated island, never to see her again, even if was for the greater good. Neither would I have wanted to be responsible…

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