Yearbook

My 1975 yearbook quote relates to politics and life

Greg Markley


By GREG MARKLEY

When I was a high school student in 1975, we couldn’t just go to Brainy Quote to find a profound or humorous saying. We searched for words that would sum up our four years at school. Middle-class families, including mine, didn’t always have dictionaries and quote books. And public libraries closed early and were generally not open on Sundays.

On Monday, our yearbook citations were due. I turned to my history teacher. At 26, his head was full of sayings. We discussed several quotes, but I ended up picking one that we both liked: “Sometimes we get so obsessed with an obsession that we forget our brainchild.” I felt in 1975 that this applied to me, someone with eclectic interests and a wild imagination.

A December 2021 article for Shutterfly.com listed “60 Memorable Yearbook Quotes”. An inspirational quote was “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. It’ll be here soon” which was a 1992 and 1996 campaign song for Bill Clinton. Another inspiration was “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who care don’t matter and those who matter don’t.”

Soon-to-be graduating students at Auburn University, Southern Union, and area high schools are encouraged to read this Shutterfly article for samples. You may have heard one or other of these funny quotes: “No more homework, no more books!” No more dirty looks from the teacher! and “You’re going to regret not dating me in high school.”

“Choosing a memorable quote or tagline from the yearbook is a great way to make a lasting impression,” says Shutterfly.com. “Let your legacy live on in the pages of your yearbook and use a citation that reflects your personality and spirit.”

I’ve met high-profile people, journalists, and soldiers who were “so obsessed with an obsession” that their quality of life suffered. These include politicians, lawyers, doctors, professors and small entrepreneurs who are unsung heroes. Still, some have strayed from their “original idea” and that bothers me. I am a capitalist but I believe that work should not be 100% about money, or in the case of some office holders, more power than they can absorb.

Millions of people were obsessed with Elvis Presley and Princess Diana, ever since Elvis was 20 and Diana was 19. Elvis was “a prisoner in his own house” and his fans were not just fascinated, but obsessed. They wanted to be typical fans, but became obsessed. He died at the age of 42, in poor health made worse by taking illicit pills.

Diana became more popular than her husband Charles, the future king. She was on more People Magazine covers than anyone. Her fans were obsessed, which led to the paparazzi taking pictures of her all the time. Even when she was no longer a member of the Royals, her popularity grew. Fans probably knew they were “obsessed with obsession” but they couldn’t help it. She died in a car accident in 1997 and nearly 25 years later people are still obsessed with her.

I have noticed that in Alabama and Georgia sometimes businessmen and women are elected to a city council or a county commission, but I may not have realized the workload of these “part-time workers”. They sometimes only serve one or two terms, but must return to run their small business or corporate headquarters.

Some ran for public office as an extension of what they were already doing to advance the community. But the “original idea” crashed with the obsession to help the public through politics. Yet, the good thing about these businessmen is that no matter how long they serve, their government agency benefits from their knowledge of budgeting and cost cutting.

I often talk to college and university students who are taking a semester or a gap year to earn enough money to attend later. Some of them are frustrated and even obsessed with the idea that their friends will graduate before them. Relax. The longevity tables are in your favor, to have more than 60 years remaining.

Please don’t obsess over losing your place on the upward mobility plane. Remember: the original idea is what counts, don’t worry or obsess about being three months or even three years behind your classmates. When it comes to yearbook quotes, the overused one is “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. from the first line of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”

In 1975, I had the pleasure of having a history teacher provide me with a good quote for the yearbook. Simply put, “Sometimes we get so obsessed with an obsession that we forget about our original idea.” Now students around the world can get a quote in minutes with Brainy Quote. Politicians can also get good quotes from the web. That’s good: no reason to be obsessed.

Greg Markley first moved to Lee County in 1996. He has a master’s degree in education and history. He taught politics as an adjunct in Georgia and Alabama. An award-winning writer in the military and civilian life, he contributed to The Observer for 12 years. [email protected]t