It’s not all about you

Alex Burnam

Beach balls like the one pictured above made several appearances during the assembly May 4. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi
I recently attended my final assembly as a Bruin, the annual Flashback assembly. Nostalgia ruled the affair.
I sat in rapt attention as my peers were honored for their achievements throughout their high school careers. Tears were shed, and glorious moments were shared, but in a single brash and disgusting moment, cannons shot off and beach balls and confetti rained upon the audience.
My initial reaction was one of humor: “This is pretty d— funny,” I thought. Yet, within a split second, the sweetness of the moment turned sour.
The nostalgic atmosphere was gone for good, and attention had shifted from those who truly deserved recognition to a group of pranksters with confetti cannons.
Stealing the limelight from others has become a plague in our society. People have be trained to think that if they aren’t publicly praised, then they are worthless and, therefore, must do everything in their power to get any and all recognition, often at the expense of others. Encounters between friends have become one-upping contests; if you aren’t the center of attention, you aren’t liked.
It’s sickening.
I’ve never really been one to seek the limelight actively, but  it’s not because I haven’t desired it;  it was almost always taken from me. Athletes overshadow bookworms, ignorant loudmouths silence quiet geniuses, and nice guys finish last.
The limelight never found me in my earlier years, and even if I had gone looking for it, it would have already been taken by someone else.
At the Flashback assembly this phenomenon was shown again. Sex dolls were thrown during sax solos and beach balls stole the spotlight from Everyday Bruin award winners. Even the Bruin of My Life moments were made into a spectacle centered around awarders instead of awardees. For many people being honored it was one of the only times they had been publicly recognized, yet their limelight was stolen from them.
A desire for a quick laugh and class clown status must stop. I’m guilty of attention theft as well, and it kills me when I find out I’ve done it to others because I know exactly how it feels to be overshadowed.
Next time you see someone enjoying their own shining moment, let them have it. Don’t try to one-up them; don’t try to shift attention toward yourself. Never take a moment that wasn’t yours to begin with.
Hopefully 2013’s Flashback assembly won’t follow the spirit of this year’s. For me, the only thing my mind will flash back to for 2012’s assembly will be confetti cannons and blow up dolls.
By Alex Burnam
Read a recap of the assembly here.