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  • We wrote these things called "six-word memoirs" in English class once.

    The term was coined by Ernest Hemingway. When asked by a journalist if he could tell a whole story in six words, he replied "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn." And thus the six-word memoir, tool of English teachers everywhere, was born.

    My English teacher, in particular, is a fan of the six word memoir. Her ardent love of Hemingway's writing is almost disturbing in its intensity; she has stalked all of Hemingway's Paris haunts, and has the creepy pictures to prove it. On this day, early in our Hemingway unit, she assigned us the six word memoir.

    So we sat at our desks, trying to tell an whole story, convey the entirety of an emotion, in only six words.

    I stared at the desk. Shuffled my papers. Stared at the wall. Clicked my pen.

    Then I just thought, "To hell with it," and started writing the first stuff that came to mind. Most of it was cliche, and some of it verged on outright plagiarism. For whatever reason, a lot of it was irritatingly angtsy.

    "The second chance was the last." "Cars collide but music plays on." "Believed in flight. Wings didn't hold."

    ..."Believed in flight. Wings didn't hold." Huh. For whatever reason, that one kind of gets me. Not exactly poetic, but it seems to hint at an interesting idea. It brings to mind the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus and the wax wings. Icarus believed that he could touch the sun.

    To me, that statement embodies an inexplicable feeling common among the young. An unquenchable optimism, an unwavering belief that opportunities are infinite and the possibilities endless. The world opens wide before us, ready to be taken by storm. If anything can happen, what is to stop our dreams from coming true? As The Perks of Being a Wallflower's Charlie so eloquently puts it,

    "We are infinite."

    But we aren't--not really. Our optimism only lasts so long in the face of reality and responsibility. We might not find that perfect guy or girl. We may not get that dream job. We won't always make the difference we thought we would. Once-endless possibilities become fewer and fewer. For whatever reason, we don't reach the heights we thought we could.

    Our wings don't hold.
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