I had the fortune, luck, and pleasure of studying at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola in Caracas. Not only that, but I was also a member of the School Band. This institution had an almost military structure, and at the end of each school year, we had the ceremony of promotions and decorations.
It was the year 1981, and the day of the ceremony arrived. All my classmates, except for me, received some decoration or were promoted, or both. I think I went through all the stages of grief, but I ended up accepting that maybe I hadn’t performed at my best.
Among the things I decided to improve were my social interactions with the other members of the Band. So, I approached our new and flamboyant leader, Luis Dáger, and cheerfully suggested organizing a Band BBQ at his house. Luis immediately replied, “Ruben, if you organize it, I’ll provide the venue.” I admit his response surprised me and left me cold, but I said immediately, “Yes, I’ll organize it.”
And so it happened. We chose the day, printed invitation flyers, collected money, bought everything – meat, sausages, yucca, guasacaca, salad, soft drinks, ice, and utensils – and set up everything in the Dáger’s backyard. At three in the afternoon, band members started arriving, and we had a “worldly” afternoon. I felt “on top of the world,” as the song goes.
This was a pivotal moment in my life. I learned to analyze my shortcomings (I wasn’t promoted or decorated, and it was for a reason), to be proactive (I approached the leader with an idea), someone gave me an opportunity (I still thank Luis for that chance), and I seized it, strengthening my self-esteem. It was a lesson that still accompanies me today, and that’s the message of this tale.