their résumés or preserve for their
obituaries. Other people may be appointed to some position, become
president of a club or nonprofit, be honored for years of service
or an outstanding accomplishment.
As the years go by, many people accomplish great things
or, by accident, make the headlines. Think back to what milestones
or major events in your life are worth mentioning on your résumé
or in an obituary.
Looking ahead to April, there are elections countywide
where new people will take office or others be re-elected
mayors, council members, school board trustees and even a few
city clerks. Those who win in each community can add that to
PHOTO OF CALENDAR FOR 2017
Unexpected recognitions also grab headlines winning
the Illinois Lottery, surviving a plane crash or performing a
heroic act on the spur of the moment. So think back to when you
did something or had something happen that could be included
in your obit or on a résumé. Looking ahead, will
2017 be one of the years you have something monumental to record
An old adage in the news business used to be that there
are three times a person will have their name printed in the
newspaper when they are born, they get married and they
You can almost claim anything you want when you write your
obituary, since the funeral directors never question a clients
honesty and newspapers (in most markets) only run paid notices,
so take no responsibility for the content.
So if I decide I want to slip in a Pulitzer Prize for journalism
or a Nobel Prize for literary achievement, who would be the wiser?
But you had better be careful how you got along with your surviving
relatives or heirs. If you cut them off, they might add a sentence
stating you did time for forgery, turned atheist or had three
unsuccessful marriages. That has happened in the past, although
It might be wise to compose your own obituary now and prepay
the funeral home to have it set in stone so no one
can tamper with your reputation once you go to the great
This general subject was discussed in a year-end commentary in
the Chicago Tribune, and I found this quote worth sharing: What
you do starting today, how you live your life now, can rewrite
your obituary for better or worse. What you have accomplished
so far, who you have been up to now, may or may not make the
If you find that hard to believe, think of Rod Blagojevich
becoming governor of Illinois and where he is now; or Hillary
Clinton, who was sure she would be the first woman elected U.S.
president. What will be the lead sentence in their death notices
especially since they are famous enough to have their
life stories written by professional news people, not by a family
member or funeral home? So youd better start looking for
that good news headline.
But dont count on it being winning the lottery.