As 2013 came to an end, various media outlets began awarding their annual Person of the Year Award. Forbes magazine, for instance, voted Russian President Vladimir Putin as the most powerful man in the world while Time Magazine chose Pope Francis as the man that most influenced the world this past year. Although these awards are still seen as prestigious, I often feel that the Person of the Year Award has lost some of its glitz. Nowadays, any small time blogger or New York condominium offer such awards. However, like my fellow bloggers I could not resist choosing my own man of the year and following in the footsteps of the editors of Oxford dictionary , I have decided to bestow the 2013 Man of the Year Award upon myselfie. (See my reaction to the announcement below).
You may be wondering why I am a worthy recipient of this prestigious award. The answer is that in 18 days I shall reach the ripe old age of thirty and my roaring twenties will have come to an end. As was the case in past decades, I use these jubilees to evaluate my achievements and failures thus far in an attempt to understand where I have been, and more importantly, where I’m going.
Following such an assessment at the age of 10 (circa 1994), I set out to write my autobiography titled “The Rise of Ilan Manor”. As I entered my teens, this title seemed more and more fitting. After returning to Israel from a three year stay in America I quickly turned into a political meteor. Within three years I was voted President of my high school’s student body following which the student council was dispersed and my two year autocracy began. In 2001, the school newspaper (which I edited) ran a two page feature titled” The Sky’s the Limit for Mr. Manor” In line with my new found celebrity status I even underwent plastic surgery altering my Jewish nose into what the surgeon called “a Greek slim nose”.
That year I was also elected to run the kitchen at the Jerusalem Scouts’ summer camp and was even given the honor of directing my Scouts Tribe’s Holocaust memorial ceremony, the highpoint of the Scouts’ social calendar. After graduating from high school summa cum laude, I enlisted into the IDF and at the age of twenty was awarded a citation of excellence by the highest ranking officer in the army’s armored corps. I was a tank commander through and through, one admired by his subordinates and colleagues alike.
But by the middle of my third decade (at the age of 25) the title of my autobiography had changed to “The Rise and Fall of Ilan Manor”. I began my twenties as an illegal worker at a Philadelphia sweatshop. Then came a prolonged addiction to Domino’s Pizza coupled with a growing dependency on alcohol and daily abuse of nonprescription drugs such as Advil. This joy ride ultimately ended with a one month tour of the Psych ward at Tel Ha Shomer hospital and a daily regiment of four different classes of psychiatric medications.
By the age of 27, I had fallen back in my academic studies, left my job at a Tel Aviv high tech company and semi-retired to my boudoir. Yet more troubling and devastating than all these blows was the 2008 financial crisis. Suddenly I faced both emotional and financial ruin. In an attempt to lead a life well beyond my means I had leveraged my assets one on top of another until this pyramid came crushing down. This disaster was also an existential one as I was always led to believe that Jews controlled the world’s economy. As I watched the Dow Jones plummet and a Fox News anchorwoman yell the words “financial meltdown”, I could not understand why my Jewish brothers had driven me to bankruptcy.
Now, as I approach the beginning of my fourth decade, I find it necessary to change the title of my book to “Ilan Manor-In Limbo” for I find myself at the intersection of many roads and many choices. With the help of my family and friends I have rediscovered my balance in life an am finally able to stand on my own two feet. Like a prizefighter who had fallen on hard times, I am ready to re-enter the ring. The questions that I now face will determine the shape and size of this ring.
Am I blogger or am I writer? Am I finally ready to write a play about a Jewish klezmer band that plans to assassinate the Fuhrer? Will I peruse and academic life? Do I wish to study towards a PhD? Will I study in Israel or abroad? Can I study abroad, away from those friends and family members that fought so hard to keep me afloat? Is it time to tie the knot and end my much talked about bachelorhood (talked about by my mother and aunts)? Ten roads diverge ahead, and I have yet to decide whether to take the one less traveled.
In the past year Edward Snowden has revealed that America is the most sophisticated peeping tom in the world, Vladimir Putin has entered into a chemical romance with Obama and Pope Francis has become the greatest Christian superstar since Christ himself. Yet I have survived another year. I have made into the forest and continue to blaze its trail. For that small achievement, I have decided to award the 2013 Man of the Year Award to myself.