Imagine it. You’re walking through a garage sale in a nearby town. Among all of the junk that people have put out on display, you find a State Championship Trophy from your graduation year. You pick it up, dust it off, pay the small cash amount they’re asking and take it home. The year is right but the school name needs to be changed, so you go to an engraver to put your high school’s name on a little plaque that you’ll affix to the trophy. As he asks if there is anything else, you decide “What the heck?!?! Add my name and MVP too!” After the plaque is added to the trophy, you display it proudly on your desk or mantle.
My hope is at some point this scenario became overwhelmingly absurd. The trophy has very little value without the memories of the events that earned it. The wood, metal and plastic are merely a representation of great deeds. Trophies are not worth very much except to the people that earned them because the experience is what has true value.
Unfortunately too often we seem to have become obsessed with the garage sale trophies. The transaction of something for nothing or almost nothing. The diploma that has very little education behind it. The diet pill that drops 20 lbs. in two weeks. The marriage that happened more for the wedding than the relationship. Perhaps the trophy will fool someone for a little while. In the end, the momentary joy that it creates is fleeting.
Garage sale trophies are all around us. Some are created to be sold to us. Some we sell to ourselves. When we buy them, we say that perception is what matters rather than substance. So in the end we are as plastic as the trophy that was won by another.