This post was going to go one of two ways: 1) Reminiscing on the first writing award I can remember receiving or 2) The same thing, plus a tangent on how much of a return on our investment we expect from our writing. Well, 1 + 2 = I can't find my D.A.R.E. Bear.
Not that I expect to find the actual teddy bear 20 years after winning it--I really don't know if I have it and it's cold in the garage--but I did fully think that I would at least be able to find a picture of him online. (Yes, 'it' is a 'him.')
Minus one traumatizing exception--his head was stuffed into an ATM, so I couldn't make a positive identification--that would be a negative. In fact, there are very few images of D.A.R.E. Bears at all, and those weren't nearly as cute as mine. No red shirt, weird white or light brown fur, instead of medium chocolate. Not the same. At. All.
Turns out, out some point, he morphed into a lion.
How can this be? In my tiny school, at least four kids won him (I'm guessing one for each health class). There has to been tens of thousands of tiny plush symbols of a good job done and no one has bothered to post his cute mug online. Or if they did, not where I can find it. That is sadness. Is it even possible that these other winners are writers too?
Back to points one and two, in fifth grade we were assigned to write an essay for D.A.R.E. How to stay clean, healthy and keep off drugs. After scribbling everything down fifteen minutes before class--during math class, risking the punishment of having to play the dreaded flat booger with the chalkboard--mine was picked as one of the winners.
I learned a lesson that day. It could have been a lesson on how to finish a good rush job or worse, except for one thing: I wasn't chosen to read mine at the awards ceremony.
It wasn't the best essay, because it was written in a hurry, as an afterthought. I didn't put in the time and effort to earn the honor. Basically, I got back exactly what I put into it.
Hmm...maybe my D.A.R.E. Bear is hiding from me, but I sure wish he would send a picture.
Back to happier thoughts: Can you remember your first award? Do you still have it?