The Pedestal is Full. People are Falling Off.
by Jason Alan
Sure, it’s all nice and might win you popularity contests to tell everyone they’re special, they can do whatever they put their mind to, et cetera et cetera, blah, blah and blah. But the cold hard truth is, the vast majority of us aren’t special and never will be.
Your mother or father will almost certainly tell you that you are special, and most of them will actually believe it, but that’s about it. Other than that, you’ll be just another hardhat on the construction site or another cornflower blue tie in a sea of cubicles until you retire and then die. That is, if you make it that far.
Even many of the people that are considered special by most of us really aren’t. So Michelangelo painted. Big fucking deal. Have you seen what these street artists of late have been able to do? They make it look like if you walk on that particular part of the sidewalk you’ll fall into a pit of flames. For my money I’d say they are much more talented, but I couldn’t tell you one of their names. Most everyone alive now probably couldn’t pick them out of a line-up either, much less future generations.
And what about those who really are or were special? Steve Jobs was special but most people who knew him, if they were to tell the truth, would say he was an asshole. Joseph Stalin was special, but do you want your kid to grow up to be like him? I doubt it. Jeffrey Dahmer was special. There aren’t many of us who can lay claim to knowing what human flesh tastes like. Still want me to pass the potatoes?
You could go on and on about people throughout history that are considered special to this day. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy? All assassinated. Albert Einstein? Helped with the creation of the nuclear bomb. Nelson Mandela? Rotted away in a prison cell for 27 years. Do you still want to be special?
Now I’m not saying positive reinforcement is a bad thing. If someone does something you like and you feel it necessary to tell them so, go for it. But we need to realize that 99 out of 100 participation trophies aren’t even heavy enough to be doorstops, thereby rendering them useless. In fact, I’m willing to argue that they do more harm than good. What is a participation trophy or certificate preparing children for the real world? When you come to work on time and do your job just good enough to not get reprimanded or fired, does your boss come to you at the end of the day and shake your hand? No. He might come to you and say you should step it up a little bit, though. Just showing up isn’t good enough to deserve kudos in adult life.
Being special isn’t that important. Just be a good person to those that deserve it, try to stay out of trouble and make enough money to not worry if you’re going to be able to pay your bills next month. Try not to be an automaton, but don’t shoot for being so special that you end up with a cellmate or in a pine box before your time. Because although you probably aren’t special, somebody probably likes you enough that you should stick around for a while. Pedestals are not for everyone, and they’re up high. You might fall off.
The picture in this post was taken from a blog post entitled Rejected Kids’ Books. Check it out here. It’s good for a few chuckles and is probably more well written than mine.