Les Miserables: Connection to Greatness—Even Death

Death has a broad back! What a great load of honours it can be made to bear and how assiduous are the minds of men that they can use even the tomb in the service of vanity.

p. 28

We will use anything to our advantage—even the coattails of something to which we have some level—however small—of connection. 

“My cousin who … ”
“I used to know … ”
“I met once with … ”

No matter that connection is long broken. No matter that connection would not know me. I have—must have—some claim to fame, even if it is taking pride in a fellow town-person’s elaborate funeral. 

We form allegiances based on power. When I taught middle school, the Starter Jackets procured at Christmas came in the team colors of the current power in college football. Death’s back may be broad, but the Sport’s band wagon holds more. 

“That’s always been my team.”
“My uncle lives in Florida.”

And so it goes. I must have a connection to greatness because I’m all too aware of my own frailty. Fame and fortune hide the failings of flesh. Love does not cover a multitude of sins, vanity does—or so we think. 

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