I strive for mediocrity. Well, I don’t really it just sort of finds me while I’m lazing about. Striving would require too much effort on my part. At an early age I realized with the help of my relatives that I wasn’t the smartest in the family, I wasn’t the best athlete, I wasn’t the most liked and I wasn’t the cutest. I was just one of the family. Those accolades were bestowed on everyone else. Now before I go too far with this, let me throw in a disclaimer that in my father’s eyes I’m all that and more. However, I’m not asking you to see me through his eyes and I’m not even beating myself up. As Lori would say, I am cursed with self-awareness. So in actuality I’m just stating a few facts to drive this story along.
Now in all fairness, some have told me that I’m “the most determined person [they] know”, but I really feel that they were trying to say “the most stubborn” or “the most tenacious” and they said that because they hadn’t met some of my other friends. See, it’s just not in me to be “the most” anything. I’m content with “not the worst”.
I was reminded of my attitude as I dropped another small fortune on my hideous little eleven year old car. Paint is chipping off of it, the driver’s side door is battered in and the bumper is split. When I picked it up from the shop my first thought, well the one after I choked on the bill, was “it’s not the worst car around.” In fact, I got the guy at the shop to tell me stories about other cars that had been in such bad shape they were left behind. That made me feel better; my car wasn’t the worst. In fact, I started an inventory in my head of what wasn’t the worst in my life and what I wasn’t the worst at and I came up with a fairly decent sized list.
Then I thought about all the things I do competitively and my level of satisfaction and that reminded me of our friend Lee. A group of friend which included Lee and I went bowling. At one point Lee turned around to mock my low score. I smiled back at him cheerfully and said, “true, but I’m better than you and that’s all that matters.” I really feel like it was Lee who helped me have this epiphany that a driving theme in my life is “not as bad as you” which is a metaphor for “simply not the worst” at something. As long as I’m not as bad as you, then everything in my life is just fine.