Now this is interesting; I actually have some experience with writing a mission statement. When I was much, much younger and working at this law library in California, the director had this idea that we staff persons should all get together and write a mission statement. Yes, law libraries have mission statements, and I think this one's should have been "Send Help." Because if a boatload of escaped 19th-century lunatics had shipwrecked off the coast of San Diego and decided collectively to open up a law library, they wouldn't've been too far off from what we ended up with. From the guy who walked into Technical Services every so often, raised his arms and announced, "HENS! Praise my magnificence!" to the battleaxe who became the inspiration for my gun totin' librarian in Mindbender to the computer guy who was kind of permanently someplace else, there wasn't a normal person to be found for miles. And I'm just talking about the staff members. But I better not say anything else; some of them might still be alive, and I wouldn't want to piss them off.
Anyway: One day we all gathered in the director's office and set about crafting this mission statement. I knew we were in trouble when we spent roughly forty-five minutes on whether or not the first word should be, "To." I'm not sure what in hell else you'd start a mission statement with, but even with me keeping my trap firmly shut (winning situation for Jen? Uh, not exactly), the debate raged for hours. Three hours, to be precise, on the first paragraph. In case you're wondering, the pro-"To" crowd won. But it was a close thing. I seriously thought the anti-"To" forces were going to pull off a Hail Mary for a while there.
So I have a little experience with this, warped though it may be. In doing research for this blog post (research for a blog post? Who does that?) I was disappointed to learn that To dream the impossible dream, To sail beyond the sunset* and To be or not to be were all taken. This mission statement would need to be created from scratch. Luckily, the recipe was easy; two parts grandiosity, one part bullshit, one dash inspiration, sprinkle of pomposity, delusion of grandeur, two words I can't pronounce and a flair for the ridiculous. Stir thoroughly, tap dance backward in high heels, allow to rise and bake for two hours at three-fifty. And here's what I came up with:
To live a life of sane and happy usefulness, to be in harmony with other humans and fellow beings, to be a friend to everybody and an enemy to basically nobody, and to walk softly on the earth.
Forty-three words. Not bad, considering. At the last minute I went back and added,
And to tell great stories.
Hey, it's just something I do.
Alert! Next week is my week to come up with a Talk Thursday topic! If you have any ideas, leave 'em as a comment.
*No, not the boring old poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson; the novel by Robert Heinlein, may he rest in peace. Half my friends went into mourning when he died. (Low bow.)