Hope Found on a Bare Chest This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 1, 2011
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Two years ago my friend started talking to me about her favorite band, The Maine, while we were in school. I had never heard of them before, and I was curious. Who are these guys? Is there music any good? What does “The Maine” even mean? Are they from the state of Maine? When I got home I immediately went on the computer to find the answers to my questions. Google would surely be able to help me solve the mystery of The Maine.

During my search I found a picture of a scrawny but attractive 20 year-old with no shirt on, holding a microphone in his hand - the lead singer. Tight jeans hugged his skinny legs, his light brown hair was wet with sweat, and he had tattoos. He seemed like a typical lead singer that girls swooned over.

But his tattoos caught my attention. He had a few, but not so many that they all blurred together into one. They were spaced out in a tasteful manner, and I was intrigued. What was the meaning behind each tattoo?

The first one I saw caught my attention because it was the biggest. It was displayed across his upper chest, resting just below his collar bone. I read it. “We all have been degraded. We all will be the greatest.” I read it again. I had never heard this quote before, but I immediately fell in love with it. Surely it must be a famous quote I thought to myself. Perhaps it was Gandhi or F. Scott Fitzgerald or Harper Lee who had written this quote. I read it over and over again a countless number of times. It was so beautiful and meaningful and true, but yet it was so simple. It was just two sentences. Two simple sentences. Who knew that two sentences could mean so much?

I took a liking to this quote because I could relate to it, and I knew that others could relate to it too. Surely everyone had been degraded at least once in their life. I had been degraded when people made fun of my acne. Women and minorites had been degraded throughout the course of history. Countless numbers of people have been degraded because of their weight, culture, social status, income, and an endless amount of other things. The truth was “We all had been degraded” at least once.

But I think that I truely fell in love with this quote because it provided me with hope. Hope for the future. Hope that I could achieve greatness, and that others could achieve greatness too. Although people may have said hurtful things to all of us, this quote firmly stated that “We all can be the greatest.” We all have the potential to do great things in our lives, no matter what others have told us. This quote allowed me to realize that no matter what others have said about us, no matter what looks people have given us, we are capable of achieving greatness. This quote that rested on the pale chest of a 20 year-old allowed me to understand that greatness lies in each one of us, we just have to discover it and use it to its full potential.

I later learned that “We all have been degraded. We all will be the greatest” was not written by Gandhi or F. Scott Fitzgerald or even Harper Lee. It had been written by the scrawny, attractive, 20 year-old lead singer of The Maine. It had been written by the person who had gotten it tattooed on his bare chest. It had been written for The Maine’s song “We’ll All Be.” It had been written by John O’Callaghan.

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anonymous said...
Aug. 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm
Considering I'm a big fan of "The Maine", I thought this story was adorable. Great job. :)
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