Mediocrity is a fine art and is highly underrated. We’re all very good at ignoring those who excel in it.
Mediocrity is something a third child can relate to. If mediocre means ‘something in between’, or someone who’s not good, and not bad, well, the third child has that down. We all want recognition, but as the third child, I know something about not getting to be the best, or the first at anything.
‘They’, meaning the people who had the foresight to register their organization and put a seal on their letterhead so they could officially mete out recognition, routinely ignore a lot of people who are involved in productive and valuable work. Especially those who are so-so at their jobs.
Take plumbers, for instance.
When was the last time your plumber got an award? Of course, plumbers made sure that our pipes were no wider than a gnat’s butt so that three hairs would be sure to block them at some point, but that’s our fault for not making sure pipes were wide enough to birth a baby. We should have been paying attention when they put the plumbing in our houses.
Let’s look at the acting profession, which takes center stage (yuk, yuk) a few times a year, unlike the plumbing profession, or any other profession. Hollywood is always giving itself a round of applause.
(I’d like to take the acting profession, but in order to become a desirable property, you have to actually get up at 4 a.m. and go to a studio, where there are a lot of people not wearing makeup. That’s very scary.)
Making movies is one line of employment where no one can sue you for bad or mediocre work. This is because doctors and lawyers think no one dies from a bad movie. They are wrong.
Scientists are studying the effects of paying a month’s salary for a box of popcorn, a large soda, and a movie, which, if it turns out to be terrible, will make you lose all interest in seeing another sunrise. This may have actually happened to people who died in their sleep after seeing a mediocre movie. A terrible one can be kind of fun.
Hollywood will give people awards for the worst work they’ve seen all year. If there aren’t enough really bad movies, then the mediocre ones are up to bat.
Hollywood congratulates itself all the time, for everything. (They’re like me, that way.) This award is called the Razzies, and it’s given to a movie in every category, just like the Oscars.
If you can’t be the best, and you aren’t the worst, you are most likely stuck squarely in the middle. Like I said, mediocrity is a fine art. The middle spot is usually occupied by presidents or teachers, but never writers. You’re either a good writer or a bad writer, no in-between. (I just now made this rule up.)
The actors who win a Razzie deserve extra recognition for striving to be the worst. This is as difficult as striving to be the best. If you’ve ever tried to sing off-key, you know it takes expertise. Try falling off a bike if you know how to ride, or drowning when you know how to swim.
Where does an actress go who is voted the worst at the Razzie’s? Well, not the worst AT the Razzie’s, but the worst in a movie.
Her career will suddenly take a turn for the better, and she’ll get parts based solely on her awfulness.
If she wants to remain on the bottom, she now has to work at her craft, knowing she could be endangering the very aspect of her career that makes her valuable. In Hollywood, the pressure to remain at the bottom is tremendous, and every year there is an up-and-comer who could be worse than she is.
What if, God forbid, through hard work and dedication, she became better?
Practice and hard work could launch the recipient of a Razzie straight into mediocrity, and then right into excellence! This doesn’t necessarily follow, because some people remain terrible at some things no matter how hard they try.
For instance, I’ve never become good at washing dishes, and I’ve been doing it since I was very young. I should probably get an award for worst dish washer, but I’m modest. I don’t need that kind of recognition.
(I think it should be in the form of a soap dispenser or one of those dish scrubber brushes. And it should be gold so I’ll never have to wash another dish after I sell it.)
Instead of all this Angie’s List and what-not, I think every profession should have a Razzie award. Worst teacher, worst doctor, worst athlete, whatever. It would inspire people to do a little worse every year, until they can be the most awful of everyone!
Once you hit bottom, you can work your way up into mediocrity, the envied state where everyone ignores you. So keep trying half heartedly, giving it your semi-best, because we don’t need another member of our boring club unless they’re willing to pay dues.