The Essential Person

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of John Callaway’s death.  It goes without saying that John was a person of great achievement and of immense importance to Channel 11 in general and Chicago Tonight in particular.   But after his death I came across the following poem and I now have a copy taped to my door.  I think John would have agreed with its message.  See what you think.

The Indispensable Man
by Saxon White Kessinger

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room;
Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is to do just the best that you can;
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

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  • Kathleen

    Genius. Thank you for sharing.

  • This poem reminds me of a famous quotation to the effect that “the cemeteries are full of indispensable people.” It all just trivializes the value of people as unique individuals. Individuals can and do make a difference which can reverberate down thousands of years of history, as well as prehistory. Denigration of the value of individuals is especially harmful now, with millions of unemployed and underemployed people being sent the message by government, business, and most media that we’re nothing but numbers and should either wait until there’s room for us to work full-time, or forget what we have to contribute as ourselves and get job training to morph into a grunt at some job that’s in high demand now. Our species survives the death of individuals, but individuality is necessary to our survival as a species. We’re all indispensable.