Hi and welcome back! I ran into this story this past week and it made me smile. I hope it has the same effect on you! It’s just one more example of how people try to announce to the world, I was here! This was me! Today, Lord Snow Presides over the land of lords and ladies, and what they say about the human condition.
(Disclaimer: I do not have any relationship whatsoever with any of the businesses named below and know nothing about them beyond what their webpages say. They appear here only for illustrative purposes. Caveat emptor!)
Lords and Ladies: Do You Wanna Build a Title of Nobility?
I don’t even remember how I ran across this story, but this page’s title sure caught my attention:
Become a Lord or Lady Today
It’s some place in Scotland that sells little teeny weenie one-square-foot (1sf) packets of wooded land as a novelty souvenir. Someone who actually owns that land parceled it up for sale like that. The site asks buyers not to build on it or anything, like to make the world’s tiniest Tiny House, but officially it does indeed belong to those buyers — so technically, it sounds like they don’t have to listen to that request. Either way, the company selling these titles says they’re dedicated to keeping the woodlands in the area as natural as possible.
That’s not what caught my attention, though, not really. I’ve seen this kind of offer before. Heck, you can even buy star names these days (from outfits like this one; if you want land, there’s an Irish version of the Scottish offer, if you’d rather).
These noble titles weren’t nearly as expensive as buying an official inherited title, of course. Apparently, the real deal can cost upwards of USD$100k+.
But these little plots aren’t quite like that. They serve another purpose.
The Pins on the Map.
Rather, this was what caught my attention:
Wow. Seriously. Lookit all those names crammed into one little area! Immediately, I began checking out the map. This was a serious lot of lords and ladies, most of whom had distinctly non-Scottish-sounding names.
People put these pins into the map with the approximate location of their little bitty packet of land. This was something someone had to take trouble to do. They had to set up a pin, decide what type of pin it’d be, label it, and send it forth.
And I find this whole thing just fascinating.
The Lords and Ladies of I-Am-Here.
There’s just something in the human psyche that wants to announce to everyone: I am here. Maybe that’s part of our urge to leave our mark and proclaim our existence.
From the handprints of our distant ancestors on cave walls to teenagers on TikTok dancing to music, from the people tweeting their every thought to the world to the graffiti artists sneaking out at night to create art on buildings, it’s like we’re driven to leave our mark on the world around ourselves. It’s not quite like marking territory. No, it’s more like just marking out the fact of our own existence. We’re staking out a silhouette shaped like ourselves in a way that others will recognize as another person who was there once. Maybe we were there long ago by then, but still we were very tangibly there.
Then, later (maybe much later!), someone comes along and notices the mark somehow. For just one brief shining moment, the viewer of the mark and the maker of it come together. And then we drift apart again and go our separate ways.
Unless we get lucky, our marks fade away. Sites online close. Buildings get repainted, or fall apart. Cities even end, eventually and sometimes catastrophically. Painted caves fall inward, or close up and are forgotten. As for us, certainly we end as well — all too quickly.
Everything in this world seems geared toward forgetting us — and the marks we make.
Lords and Ladies Against the Dark Sea of Not-Me.
Our lives last such a very, very short time compared to the grand scope of not-me. It’s like we’re brief patterns that come together for a spell, then drift apart again to join other patterns. While we’re here, we seek to distinguish ourselves from that dark, roiling, amorphous sea of not-me that is everything outside ourselves.
That’s what this map feels like to me: like a bunch of people who were tickled pink at the idea of leaving their mark on this map, at having a way to say in the most distinct way possible that they were here. I love that.
Yesterday, I mentioned Club Penguin as a meaningful and rewarding community that people loved being part of. That online kids’ club ended in the same way, with young adults logging in — sometimes with accounts they hadn’t used in many years, since childhood — to be part of its final minutes. I bet very few of them even saw anybody in the clubhouse that they recognized. But that didn’t matter to them, not really. They just wanted to mark that they were there at the very end. Just to be virtually standing there, just being part of it all.
Just to say I was there.
We’ll Never Be Here Again.
To be human is to be finite. Limited. Temporary.
That quality is exactly what makes our lives so meaningful and so precious. If they were infinite and forever, they’d lose value. (Consider: is $1 worth more to us when we’re desperately poor? Or when we have millions of dollars close to hand? Years are the same way.)
We are here.
And we will never be here again.
So let’s make the most of these brief years.
Today, Lord Snow Presides over the myriad and fascinating ways that people find to mark their presence in a world that very easily forgets us.
NEXT UP: Finding meaningful practices after deconversion, and why King Brett McCracken’s gotten that wrong too. Sorry, I need to say one more thing about his stupid post. Then we’re moving into celebrity pastors’ kids! See you soon. <3
Please Support What I Do!
Also please check out our Graceful Atheist podcast interview!
If you like what you see, I gratefully welcome your support. Please consider becoming one of my monthly patrons via Patreon with Roll to Disbelieve for as little as $1/month! My PayPal is email@example.com (that’s an underscore in there) for one-time tips.
You can also support this blog at no extra cost to yourself by beginning your Amazon shopping trips with my affiliate link — and, of course, by liking and sharing my posts on social media!
This blog exists because of readers’ support, and I appreciate every single bit of it. Thank you. <3
About Lord Snow Presides (LSP)
Lord Snow Presides is our off-topic weekly chat series. Lord Snow was my very sweet white cat. He actually knew quite a bit. Though he’s passed on, he now presides over a suggested topic for the day. Of course, please feel free to chime in with anything on your mind: there’s no official topic on these days. We especially welcome pet pictures!