Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Being Excellent: Third in a Series

Sometimes you’re inclined to teach somebody something.
Is that last sentence too vague? Not if you’re Excellent it isn’t.
You see, much like having a pantload of money tends to push the too-rich towards the assuring, conscience-friendly realm of "charity", possessing an over-abundance of Excellence brings with it the need, no, thecompulsion to give back, in whatever form this desire takes - and, like plastic surgery in a dark garage, the results can sometimes be pretty atrocious. The problem lies, invariably, in your utter inability to teach something that you’re SO GOOD at, regardless of said thing’s general ease. Being Excellent, you’re probably very good at a lot of things, and you got very good at them because you were already good at them right off the bat; and what you, almost inconceivably, aren’t good at, well...chances are that you’re not doing that thing very much.

Teaching something that you’re naturally good at to someone who isn’t nearly as naturally gifted is, quite possibly, the most frustrating feeling in the entire world, or at least hearing someone laugh before you get to the punch-line: they don’t know what funny is; they’re just trying to fit in. Therein lies the problem: does an unExcellent person REALLY want to know that thing that you’re twisting yourself into knots trying to explain?

If you’re a total ass like me, then probably not...though even if your relative assness isn’t as acute as my own, you’re still coming off looking like that golf-shirt-addled guy wearing sunglasses on an overcast day in a cherry-red convertible: maybe you’re doing what’s right for you, but you look like a total dickhead.

So, don’t teach. If you must, may I suggest this as an Excellence-barometer: charisma.

True Excellence can not, under any circumstances, be achieved without it...though, to be honest, the reverse isn’t true: I know many an unExcellent chap who have more charisma than a cloned-army of Paul Newmans but who also couldn’t snag themselves Excellence if it was in an empty room, at eye-level, bathed in bright, shiny, blinking lights, with an audio-soundtrack of "take me!" blaring from cranked-up loudspeakers in a honey-drenched voice...unfortunately, like the logic of this writing, this dichotomy of Excellence is a terrible characteristic to contend with.

Good luck.

Fourth in a Series

Friday, February 9, 2007

Being Excellent: Second in Series

All right. Now, as was asked of you last time, you’re good at something.
How does that make you feel?
I’ll tell you; you should feel like a million bucks...maybe two. You shouldn’t be sitting there, shrugging your shoulders and mumbling, "so what" to yourself in that tiny, mousy voice - the one you use to say "sorry" with when you’ve been flat-out busted for gawking at that hot chick in the mall, the one powerfully timbre-challenged, with all the resonance of a damp match being lit in a murky jungle.
I’ll have you know: this is powerful stuff right here.
Look, it’s not what you do, but the verve with which you do it. There are Scrabble tournaments, for chrissake; you can win $500 for spending a year of your life making a goddamned gingerbread house, another $1000 playing table-hockey, and then, like a syrupy cherry on the top of an ice-cream-cake in the image of Buckingham Palace, you can sit back and become famous for spasmodically slashing at your hair in some YouTube freakout.
Still, these aren’t examples of Excellence, are they? Rather, they are the manically self-indulgent obsessions of those who are lucky enough to have something "legitimate" enough for their parents to stop asking when they’re going to find the right girl/guy, and when, if ever, they’re planning to procreate. True Excellence, my friend, isn’t dollars and/or sense, but that strut you wear instead of those stone-washed-jeans, the swagger you show-off as you push through the throngs of the self-absorbed, the smirk you level at those nose-deep in their PowerBooks...and you’ll inevitably get the Double-Take.
Oh, yes. That beautiful, transcendent, quasi-orgasmic Double-Take.
The first look is of irritation, no doubt; to most, you’ll look like some half-mad ignoramus, waltzing down the street with hilarity in your eye and sarcasm on your lips...but that second look, the one where the squint is a little sharper, the attention paid a little deeper - that look is the one where they are asking themselves what you’re so fucking happy about. And it’s GOLD.
The Double-Take signifies the ruination of someone’s day; they have seen what they could be enjoying, on any old street, at any old time, and their ambition-related stress melts away, if only for a second, as they rue the fact that you’re enjoying yourself, for no other reason than because you’re Excellent. The anger will sit with them, confusing them on the way to their PowerPoint presentation, hopefully extending into the next week, where it lays in their subconscious, in wait, like a panther of doubt in the dense, humid brush of their mind, giving them terrible, uncomfortable-no-matter-what-your-PosturePedic-sleep-number-bed-is-set-at dreams of their own half-assed, failed attempts at glory...
Indeed, true Excellence sometimes borders on schadenfreude, but them’s the breaks.

Third in a Series

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Being Excellent: First in a Series

I know, I’re asking yourself, “Hey! How can I, myself, become Excellent?”
Well, in this particular case, that’s what I’m here for, and, in advance, you‘re welcome. But first, some bad news: there isn’t a pill, nor is there some arcane incantation or mystical spell known to mankind that provides the unExcellent with Excellence, no...Excellence is to be gleaned from the Excellent themselves, forged like steel over white-hot flames of overabundant self-esteem, cooled on a crystallized bed of indecision for the layman’s (or unExcellentman‘s) digestion, washed down with a jug of fortified solipsism, and then, EVEN THEN, there is no guarantee that you will, in fact, become Excellent.

You should know this, up front, before we get right down to the meat & potatoes of this thing.

You should also know, if everything goes according to plan, that there are, indeed, drawbacks.

Firstly, if you have an inborn need for gratitude, forget it. Nobody compliments the truly Excellent, even if the Excellence achieved is so tremendous that its beauty is beyond words; the unExcellent believe that you’ve already congratulated yourself seven-times-over, which you most certainly have, and their input feels superfluous. Secondly, if you aren’t good at anything, take a hike...and I don’t mean that literally, like stomping around in some forest will bestow upon you some gift of ability; I mean get lost...also not literally. Being good at something, anything, is a fantastic gateway to the inner Excellence in all of us, pounding at your sternum from the inside, pleading for escape from that self-conscious husk you call your body. It doesn’t have to be something sexy like playing sports, or playing guitar, or drinking your weight in bourbon, or successfully holding up a bank - crocheting? Yes. Comic-book collecting? Absolutely...if you’re good at it. I cannot stress that last bit enough.

So, go get good at something, and I’ll see you next time...with more smugness than you could shake four sticks at.

Second in a Series