Creative Mediocrity For Fun and Profit
"I'm all about Truth, Justice, and the American Way, baby. And part of the American Way is macking on hotties." -- The Mighty Buzzard
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Great big damned cigar lit? Check. The Audioslave album playing? Check. Cold-assed, overcast day on the other side of that wall? Check. Warm socks and shoes on? Oh yeah, baby.
I've have gotten myself one of those full-blown Itches, my Interested Party. I'm a little restless and feeling unproductive. I've got the Itch to grab up my velum paper and scrawl upon it a while with some pastels or maybe charcoal. I've got the Itch to see just the right girl arch an eyebrow at me and flash a dimpled grin. I've got the Itch to back up next to a wood-burning stove and smell its smoke while talking philosophy and power-tools.
So, here is my plan: I'm going to take my cigar and my velum paper over to Buzzard's house. There I'll sit out in his workshop and stand my ass within effective range of his wood-burning stove, while committing those pastels to page and shooting the proverbial shit. I shall, furthermore, do all of this until such a time as the girl occurs – eyebrow, dimples, and all. Wish me luck, Interested Party. The Itch must be scratched.
Alas, Interested Party, I have been toppled from off my hill, and my reign on the coveted Blogdrive's Faves List has ended. If I weren't such a strong proponent of being Rooted In Mediocrity, I think my fragile ego would be splintered and scattered – but have faith! Now it's just you and I, my little Interested Party. I'm not feeling the intense pressure to perform magnificently to maintain all that power and you're not under the suspicion that you're having to share these little talks of ours with the unwashed masses.
Unless my Nefarious Plan to connive my way back onto the list works, anyway. I should get myself one of those, actually. A good old-fashioned Nefarious Plan might be a handy thing to keep in the wings for general purposes – you never know when you'll really feel the urge to release your Inner Sorry-Assed Bastard.
Fuck anarchy. True anarchists haven't got the slightest hint about Sorry-Assed Bastardism. They're just folks who've gotten too bored, and have adjusted their hair accordingly. Sorry-Assed Bastardism doesn't involve anarchy or chaos as such. Oh no, my Interested Party, it involves the kind of shrewd calculation that can only come as a result of observing and manipulating predictable behavior.
Whether your own Nefarious Plan involves a legion of attorneys, giant robots, pouring urine into someone's soup – it might not be a bad idea at all to keep one on hand. Hell, yours might involve all three.
Unlike female breasts, the value of mediocrity is vastly under-rated. Possibly in part because it seems to be a cause without a champion -- the very nature of which precludes such a thing, right? If this were true, it'd be a damned shame -- because tons of the best bits about being human stem from mediocrity. The things we have in common with every other person stumbling around on the planet – that's where mediocrity is standing, its hands in it's pockets and its eyes on the clock. That's where you can all point when you are looking for evidence that we do belong here on Planet Earth. Mediocrity is like social mortar – it's grey and only noticeable where it has the balls to be poking out, but it holds all of us individual bricks in place so we can function like a coherent structure. Which isn't to say that we do... Damnit, don't side track me.
So, am I not making any sense? That's because you, unlike myself, are not quite in the zone yet. The zone has a great view and your shoes have the best traction here. Feel free to join me. Take any group at all – from the tiniest, most fundamental social unit like a family, to the grandest, most scatter-brained swarm like the entirety of the realm.
As a matter of fact, why don't we just take ourselves a look at mediocrity on a national scale. From the arena of public policy, you'll hear clamoring from either side of an issue. Two groups are always hollering loudly about the injustice of each other's position. And the issues are always presented from two sides here, because everything gets polarized in the good old U. S. of A. It's the nature of partisan politics here – and I like it. Okay, maybe like is too strong a word. I do see how it works though – thanks to the wonderment that is mediocrity. Bear with me here.
Select any social issue and you'll have no trouble finding people who have either this opinion, or else that opinion. There are plenty of folks who have no such easily definable opinion, but they aren't the ones who are heard on the talking head shows or in the cafe over coffee. They don't lend their eyes a terrible aspect during this sort of group discussion, nor do they passionately froth at the mouth. This is often taken to mean that these people don't give a rat's ass – which is sometimes the case. But I have serious doubts as to it being the case as often as the idealists would claim.
They're choosing, instead, to lend their eyes a mediocre aspect. Something inside them understands that their cause is the one that will wind up being represented. When the dust settles and the smoke clears, it's the moderate view -- the Middle of the Road – that will become policy in this great country. That's one of the things that makes this country so great. When all the issues are polarized, it's vastly easier to find the Middle of the Road and the public policy that will influence every citizen of the nation is put into place somehow manages to represent the majority. I fucking love this country!
So we do have a champion, my little Interested Party. It may look clumbsy, it may seem unreasonably stupid, and it may track mud in all over the carpet because it forgot to wipe its feet – but we're all guilty of that.
We're all mediocre, and we all keep on going.
I know what you're thinking, my sweet Interested Party. You're wondering what in the jumped up hell any of this has to do with the female breast? Well, in answer to your shrewd query, the female breast has exactly nothing to do with mediocrity. I will mention them because, since they are contrast notions, they illustrate very capably what mediocrity is not. Big or small, natural or after-market – these attributes cannot alter the fundamental appeal of tits. They're all just after-thoughts. If you are a female with her very own pair, Interested Party, I congratulate you. You now have something else to point to and say, “Regardless of anything else – there is nothing mundane about these parts of me!”
We're all mediocre, but we all still need a vacation from it occasionally.
I'm sorry to have to break your heart here, Interested Party, but I can't quite manage a treatsie on the human female breast today. Not when there are other issues pressing themselves against my attention right now. What sort of issues? Glad you asked. I despise forwards, Interested Party. Yeah, yeah, so do we all, right? Granted, it's not the smartest thing to carry on about in any sort of online forum because, let's face it: The world's just jam-packed with people who are proud of a sense of humor that they do not, in fact, posess – and who will nevertheless exercise it at my expense for the next three minutes of their lives. Maybe ten minutes, if they're males who haven't yet learned how to assert themselves in any way that might lead to their getting laid soon. But anyway...
In fairness, I do have friends who forward me something interesting occasionally. These are folk who can gauge whether I'll like the joke/anecdote/picture-of-dog-humping-a-fire-hydrant with respectable accuracy. And let's be honest, Interested Party, as often as not they're on the money. Their forwards deliver the goods. These are the sorts of people who talk to you more often than they forward. The kind of friends who would never, ever try to hook you up with their girlfriend's sister's devestatingly-obnoxious friend, regardless of how many people say she looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Even so, the second time they forward me something mind-numbingly stupid, I put them on the blocked source list. Everyone will miss sooner or later, so I'll let one bad one go. But they don't get three strikes, because this ain't fucking baseball. All it takes to make it to my illustrious Blocked Source List is two – count 'em, two forwards addressed to Yours Truly that, just as truly, suck ass. I'll still talk to them on the phone. I'll still share a bottle of Beam or a pot of coffee. I'll still talk with them on whatever instant messenger I happen to be using at the moment.
In the event that you're all fretful because you might be one of these fated people on my blocked list, my dear Interested Party, let me assure you that you're not. Not yet, anyway. I have had to block only one person in the last six months, thanks to survival of the fittest and all that. It is his story that has spurred me to this mellow brand of wrath where you now find me, Interested Party. Let me share.
The guy's an acquaintance, though one I've had for years now. He's an agreeable dude, but usually he's begging my advice on the B-movie that is his life -- and then ignoring it completely. It's a free country, and he's well within his rights as an American to run screaming from wisdom and into the warm and welcoming arms of stupidity. But for some unfathomable reason, he has decided to become a Cat Person. Can a person actually do that? Isn't that like suddenly deciding to become black?
I am not a Cat Person. I have nothing against cats, which is a healthy attitude to have when every cat you've ever met is a You Person. Even the wild ones that live in my folks' barn – the ones so feral that you couldn't melt and pour them near another human being – they even like me. I can think of several cats I'm fond of. But these are all -- and let me be clear here -- Other People's Cats.
I checked my email today and discovered this guy had sent me 827k worth of pictures of his cats. In case you're curious, my Interested Party, it is apperently very difficult to capture every possible nuance of feline annoyance at having been poked into a old boot and endlessly photographed in one 827k email. He had to use two emails to do it. They weren't forwards in the traditional sense of the word -- but they sure as hell smelled like forwards. My congratulations go out to that dude. He made it onto the list.
We're individuals, Interested Party. Both of us. We pride ourselves on our own uniqueness – the sense of Me that seperates everything moving around the self from that very self that watches everything from a comfortable seat in the darkness behind our own set of eyes. Our perception probably needs a little work though, yours and mine both. Because we spend most of our days bumping into other folks who are individuals too, and if we think about that too much it takes something away from our sense of Magnificent Me.
And we don't want that, do we? Don't know about you, Interested Party, but I am pretty damned magnificent.
By my calculations we let ourselves down though, when we assign too much importance to the various things about ourselves that we incorrectly attribute to What Makes The Magnificent Me Unique. The world is full of people, and most of them have the suspicion that they too are unique. So we're not unique there, by my reckoning. Damn.
Part of me, for example, wants to say to myself, “You, my good-looking self, are THE charming, thoughtful guy who paints, plays guitar, and sings. And you write too, you Magnificent Me, you!” Tell me you haven't had a simliar conversation with yourself, Interested Party. I dare you.
Nope, there's always someone better. Smarter. More capable. More aware. Someone who's dealt with a problem very similar to one of your own, only who hasn't fucked it up with the clumbsy finesse that you have. Damn, again.
There is hope though, Interested Party, so fear not! You and I both are still unique, even if it's not exactly for the reasons either of us thought. I'm of the opinion that it's our decisions that cast our individuality. Choice is the one thing we have that is completely and utterly our own. They make us solely responsible for ourselves and those around us, while not being shared with anyone. Even those same people that our decisions affect. Your choices all belong exclusively to you, my Interested Party. Mine belong to me. This, of course, sucks if you're a proud and trembling member of the Victim Culture – because suddenly you can't blame anyone else for anything that negatively affects you. This post is just chock full of Damnits today, ain't it?
When and where you are – those things pertain just to you, and what you do while you're there does too. From the tiny choices like, “Which way should this brush stroke go on my painting, here?” to the great, big ones like “Should I join the Peace Corps, move to Africa, and learn to say 'Don't shoot I'm Canadian' in all the local languages?” All of them are very specifically your very own. They are yours, but they even those aren't who you are.
Fuck originality, I say. Why focus on it? We're original, not because of the things we do or don't do. Each one of us is original because you are the only you that exists. I'm the only me that exists. So see, there's no reason for either one of us to seek out originality – we're already there.
It would appear that what is left to us now, my little Interested Party, to just be genuinely ourselves. Let your work, your decisions – all the things that reflect who you are-- let those things be sincere. If you feel a certain way, then fucking feel it – good, bad, or ugly. I'm not recommending that either one of us dwell in it, but who are we kidding? Either we accept it and then deal with it, or we spend our time running in circles like a swarm of giant two-year-olds who've suddenly learned they have a self to assert, but without the faintest idea how to do it.
They're inherently a part of us – those things we think and feel. They reflect who each one of us actually is. If you're a ball-washing bastard, those things will bear witness to the fact. Whether they're right or wrong is something each of us has to worry with later, but we both know that neither of us will ever get around to it if we don't face them first. End of lesson, Interested Party. Your homework is to go out and get to know yourself. Sit yourself down and look yourself in the eye for a while.
Just today someone was telling me that she was getting old. I agreed, because I'm an agreeable sort of guy. She then pointed out that I'm a good six years older than she is, so I didn't have any room to talk, thank you very much. I carefully explained that as a male, I only get more distinguished as I get older. My appeal only grows. Crow's feet? Grey hair? Give me more, baby!
Time passes and the following two things happen: Women get old and men get better. Women folk lament about this. Loudly. And nearly without ceasing. If you, Interested Party, are female, I appreciate you taking a break from bitching about the unfairness of the issue long enough to indulge me here. You think it's unfair? There is no balance? Well, it serves you right. The fault almost exclusively lies with you. You and those damned standards of yours.
Now don't suck all the air out of the room in one gasp, Interested Party. Calm thyself. I'm not going to go into how fair it isn't that women live longer, smell better, are smarter, are the hubs of society... No, no. Those are all interesting topics, but they don't really make my argument as capably as I'm about to.
Why do men just get more distinguished as we get older? Being old, for a man, is like having a personal lackey who climbs up on the rooftops and shouts out to women of the world, “This man represents the pinnacle of success for all that is masculine! He has done what so many others have failed to do: He has not died yet!”
That's right, Interested Party. It's simply because we're still alive. That is the root of the appeal. Old men are men who, presumably, have the wisdom, fortitude, and dumb luck not to have gotten themselves killed off yet. We're the socially expendable ones, remember? I am still firmly convinced that most of the physiological differences between men and women reflect that men are the ones who are supposed to do the dangerous work, and that women do the smart work.
What females need is some better Public Relations people. I'm surprised you people haven't thought of it yet, actually. I mean, your whole gender is about public relations.