Response to, “If you can’t be exceptional at what you do, why do it?”

It’s exactly the opposite of my reasoning.

-hint: never remind me of family members except my grandmother, who’s dead these 10+ years.

That sounds like my father, the man who told me as a little girl, “Be quiet, people are trying to sing” at a family reunion. My family (at that time) had several members with contracts out of Memphis but that didn’t mean anything: they got together and people grabbed instruments. There’d be 7 or more people playing and singing at a time and switch instruments sometimes mid-song. It was good fun for all (except dad).

Catching the chorus, I started to sing along with everyone else and dad quieted me. I didn’t sing in public for about 20 years. Now, I sing at parties and bars. Fuck ’em. I’m fine. I say, “I’m no singer but I sing.” Hey, people get up and dance.

People told me that my art wasn’t up to par (from non-dad family members: “not like your mother’s” or the more direct school crit: “your art sucks”). The head of masters in advertising/ marketing studies at university told me that I’d never get a job in that field. I have 15+ years of pay stubs to answer that. Fuck ’em. I’m fine. I say, “I’m no artiste but I’m arty.”

University required two writing classes: 101 and 102. One-zero-one was taught by a bitchy lady with one arm. Yes, you guessed it: I nicknamed her “the one armed bandit.” She told me (with spittle flying) that I didn’t prepare properly because I didn’t know that Andalusia was a region in Spain. She didn’t know about the film Un Chien Andalou, where I did. Neither my knowledge of that film nor her knowledge of that place had anything to do with critiquing another student’s writing (mentioning a character was born there).  Dude. It was English 101…not about Andalusia and not my piece. Fuck ‘er.  I’m fine. I still haven’t been to Spain and shitty as it may be, I’m revising my second novel. Wonder if she ever wrote one?

One-zero-two was taught by a man so dastardly that I filed a grievance against him (it was that or my brother was going to wait for him in the car park and kick his arse). He was an asshole. Two weeks after class ended, he dropped dead of a massive heart attack. Fuck ‘im. He’s still dead and I’m still here.

Man, I can go on and on about why we should do things even if we’re not “exceptional.” Not the least of all reasons: by doing things over and over, we learn, we improve, we temper our talent.

By throwing down that which we cannot figure out instantly or within a year or even ten years, we’re not better than our classmates in this world — and that’s what life is: a place of learning. For shame. –don’t be a pussy, stick your chin out


9 thoughts on “Response to, “If you can’t be exceptional at what you do, why do it?”

    • Thanks. I was glad to stumble upon it. You know I love deleting shite (we share this joy) so, it’s kinda rare for something heart-felt to “live.” That was posted on Vox, originally. I’m glad it made the cuts.


  1. I’m a “deleter” too. Last fall I went back and deleted 2/3’s of the shit on my bloggie.If I ever get some time off, I’ll probably do that again!
    And yes, fuck ’em. EXACTLY why my blog’s meme is mediocity. Your mem is obviously the perfect use of profanity, so I agree. Fuck ’em.
    My mediocre is better than their prideful perfection, anytime.


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