Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted November 14, 2012


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A ramble...

Mediocrity

by Spiritual Echo

I've known a few 'Joes' in my life and by and far they live up to their label. None of them were terribly good looking, but neither were they repulsive. I suppose the best thing one could say about them was they were just 'average Joes.'

The idea of average is very comforting to many people. Perhaps they have reconciled themselves to the fact that they will never make the richest, smartest or best looking lists published each year, but neither will they be criticized for what is lacking. They can swim in grey waters, not drawing attention to themselves, and hide behind hoards of people who occupy the same space.

This idea that average was comforting recently appeared to me in the form of a grandchild's report card littered with average grades. His father congratulated him on this 'accomplishment' and quite frankly, in my grandson's case, being average beats the well veiled remarks of last year's comments that indicated he was a holy terror.

I couldn't help but go back to the university grade system,the Bell Curve. As I remember it, it worked by taking the top fifty percent who passed and left the bottom half to fail. In that case, the failures may have grasped the material very well, but for reasons of comparison against their peers, they were considered failures.

There was that looming acceptance that half the people who passed in the hallway were smarter than me. Not knowing whether I was about to begin to assert my point of view with those below me in intellect or loftier minds, it was easier to avoid all debates.

I tried to find some pride in mediocrity, giving myself the latitude to decide that my being average likely meant that I was the worst of the best. Being the best of the worst was too damn depressing.

By taking a 'middle of the road' stance in politics or matters of morality, have I grasped more from the more altruistic or am I murky from the bottom feeders? Why can I no longer find it soothing to be the middle of anything?

I've also pondered whether being 'middle of the road' or a 'fence sitter' means that I have become lazy, not curious or passionate enough about issues. Has my brain gone soft in my average, vegetative state, unwilling to exercise or think?

I am considered middle-aged. Does that mean that I am in the old age of youth or the youth of old age? Well, I suppose it depends on store policy, doesn't it?

Some venues offer a discount at age fifty-five, others at sixty and the remainder at sixty-five. Vanity be damned.! When it comes to a discount, I'll take my senior status.

Truthfully, knowing the years do march along, in other areas of my life I'd prefer to think when it comes to age, average, middle-age is better than the alternative.









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