Frequently, I find myself taking life’s challenges far too seriously. It’s not that there aren’t things that are important. Sadly, we are tested a lot in life. But when things seem overwhelming, it helps to put it all in perspective by remembering what a good friend reminded me once.
Absent some huge scientific breakthrough, in one hundred years, we’ll all be dead anyway so what’s the big deal?
That’s comforting, but it’s not.
It does help, however, to put lots of things into perspective. It’s particularly helpful whenever you’re tempted to take yourself too seriously.
That’s where King Richard III comes in.
Remember Richard III? He’s the King of England who William Shakespeare vilified in one of his plays. Thanks to Shakespeare, Richard III is remembered as a deformed and depraved individual who murdered his own nephews in order to gain the throne. Never mind that Shakespeare worked for the Tudors who had supplanted Richard III and thus the Plantagenets via his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Clearly, following that event, it helped the Tudor cause to make Richard look as bad as possible. Shakespeare did his part in writing Richard III. In that respect, you could consider Shakespeare an early version of the modern day political spin doctor.
Yesterday, Leicester University archaeologists announced an important discovery. They could conclusively state that they’d uncovered the remains of Richard III–under a parking lot in Leicester.
Not only could they prove that it was indeed poor Richard buried there, they also shared details of some of the wounds which either caused or followed his demise. Among them was what they described as a “humiliation wound.” Apparently, someone at the time thought it would really show that nasty King Richard if they stabbed him in the right buttock.
Think about it. In life, Richard III was King of England. As human beings go, you really can’t shoot much higher than that (status wise anyway). Even though he evidently had lots of issues to contend with, including a curvature of the spine which was also confirmed by the scientists who discovered him, he probably generally went around feeling incredibly good about himself. He probably demanded that everyone treat him a certain way or they’d find themselves as guests in the Tower of London. Richard III likely took himself very seriously.
So what happens?
He ends up buried under a parking lot for over 500 years with a stab wound in the butt. To add to his humiliation, now everyone in the world knows about it. He’s even become the butt (no pun intended) of late night television comedians.
So what’s the lesson here?
Clearly, no matter how big or small we are or think we are in life, it really doesn’t matter.
Enjoy life and never take anything so seriously (especially yourself) that it overwhelms you. Going around acting smug and full of yourself isn’t good for you or those around you. And whenever your tempted not to heed this advice?
Just remember KingRichard III who will now be known not only for his alleged misdeeds according to Shakespeare but also for his very undignified final resting place and for holding the record for the most expensive parking lot charge in history.