By the way, that's something important to know about troopers: you cannot self-proclaim trooperism. It does not work to say, "Boy, I was really a trooper today!" That is totally against the rules. You must be nominated a trooper by someone else. For example, "He's such a trooper!" and "What a trooper!" and "She's an amazing trooper!" are all ways of announcing a trooper to others. So, it's important if you want to become a trooper that you troop a lot in front of people, particularly my relatives.
What does it mean to be a trooper, you ask? Well, basically it means to endure without complaint. To long-suffer without whining. To keep on keepin' on (and on and on and on). To be consistently selfless. To accept what you're given. And I can see why my parents praised troopering--it was likely a positive reinforcement survival tactic with eight kids. Who could endure the whining of such a crowd? I should probably give a lot of credit to my five older siblings. If they hadn't been such troopers, my parents never would have had me in the first place.
And while we're on the subject of having kids, there's nothing that thrills my parents more than to hear that their grandchildren are also troopers. You should hear it when I call my mom and dad to say, "We drug Max all over New York City all day long, and he never once complained about the walking. He kept right up--two of his steps to every one of ours!" I can hear them smiling through the phone, beaming sunshine, and I know what they're thinking: Our grandson is such a little trooper! (And if you think it feels good to be nominated a trooper, just imagine how good it feels to realize that you've raised one.)
I am proud to come from such a long line of troopers. There are tales of supreme trooperism from my ancestors. It comforts me to know that my DNA is structured to endure all manner of hardship---electrical shock, wild animals, and natural childbirth, to name a few. Even though I don't choose to practice troopering regularly, I'm glad to know it's in me. You know, I can if I have to.
I should clarify something--troopers are not only found in my family tree. Here is a list of famous troopers:
The guy in Field of Dreams
The guy in Shawshank Redemption
The guy in The Patriot
The guy in Cinderella Man
The Energizer Bunny
See? Almost everywhere you look, a trooper is there to inspire you. I know they've inspired me.
Now, I'd love to know: Is the grand tradition of troopers something that is celebrated only in my family? Or have you spent your life striving to be nominated in your own circle? What are your thoughts on the subject?