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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

It Is Not That It’s Done Well. It’s Amazing Enough It Was Even Attempted

Old Skool, yo.

Of course, it helps he chose my favorite song to record. If he’d chosen something annoying, like Die Meistersinger,  it would have gotten tedious right quick. But it illustrates a rule of thumb I like to employ: Compared to what?

It’s a bad recording, it’s true. But look what an inquisitive person can accomplish with next to nothing. It is the only yardstick I will allow anyone to use on me: Compared to what? What have you accomplished on your own? What can you do with meager supplies and not much help? What are you daring enough to attempt? Are you successful? Compared to what?

There are children gone a little long in the tooth already demanding that everything be made easy and presented to them as a gift while they loudly sit on a tuffet and search for peas with their gluteals. They seem immensely old to me. Like the elderly in a rest home demanding double rations of prune juice. Laissez Faire are dirty words to them. “To let to do” is the literal translation, I believe. No one seems to want to be let to do much of anything. It was the only thing I’ve ever wanted in my life, to be allowed to try, so I am of little use to the Doc Martens and iPhones in a Patagonia tent contingent. They wish to be paid to be constrained from doing anything. It’s good work when you can get it, kids, but there are only so many State Senator jobs to go around.

Let’s play “compared to what” with them: you’ve been given every advantage and you’re useless ciphers, incapable of any useful activity except complaining that you’d like to change the dictionary definition of useful activity. The dictionary will likely be immune to your depredations, as dictionaries are not allowed into the schools you attended for twenty-odd years. Even if they did debase the dictionary further on your behalf, other forms of reality are waiting in the dark with a cosh to knock some sense into you the hard way. Luckily for all of us, you’re just a very loud minority. Most people get on with their lives, and help others get on with theirs, too. The squares out in the sticks might seem like Morlocks to the beautiful people, but at least Morlocks can mine a bit. What can you do? No fair trying to call yourself a Morlock when the dinner bell is rung. You’re a Morlock? Compared to what?

Your college bookstore was full of clothes, the library was for sleeping it off and surfing porn and stealing MP3s, and all the money’s gone and you’ve been Blutarskyed out of the ivy nest with nothing but a sneaking suspicion that fifty large is a big nut to pay for four-plus years of Keystone and cable. I think of what I could accomplish, right now, with fifty grand, four years, and a library card. Hell, I’ll take two out of three of those things and build a very small empire with them. You got an education? Compared to what?

You’re right to be angry. You were robbed. Unfortunately, you worship the robbers. Saint Jobs of Cupertino comes to mind. There is no caramel-colored interactive button to press repeatedly to get your kibble; and no matter what Sesame Street told you, the alphabet does not get up and dance to keep you amused. You are not an audience anymore. You’re supposed to make the alphabet dance now, and it keeps tripping on all the apostrophes you scatter around willy-nilly. You’re mad at the audience for leaving while you’re still sorting out who will paint the scenery on the stage instead of performing. Someone must know how to open the paint cans. It’s a plebeian job, not worth your while, but important in a way you barely understand. You’re useful? Compared to what? You think if you agitate hard enough you’ll be in charge of the mess that follows opening the paint cans with an ax and a shotgun. I have my doubts. The company store has very high prices, a lot of customers, but precious few clerks.

You should try making something with what’s at hand instead of demanding that things be made for you. The results might be a meager thing, but it will be thine own. And then you can say, “Meager? Compared to what?”

9 Responses

  1. I have had frustrating conversations on-line and in for-real, only to be stumped when I 'don't get it, maaan'.

    Value added, indeed. No longer part of the audience. Do something, make something, dig it out of the damned ground, grow it out of the damned ground, but for the sake of Jeebus please stop whining. My money is not your money, and my money does not prevent you from getting some of your own. If I had any, that is.

  2. "Compared to what?"

    I'll have to remember that next time I jerry-rig a solution that somebody somewhere probably already solved much more eloquently.

  3. I am often asked what curriculum I use. I tell them I just pull it together myself. It may have gaps, and not be "credentialed", but compared to THAT, my kids are educated.

  4. Nicely said. What I have been quite clumsy in trying to express my …. disgust with those useless t-rds in all the Occupy ….. camp-outs.

    They need to go get some kind of job. Slopping hogs or something.

    Gerard – So happy to see you are back.


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