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The Carletonian

Mastering the art of being very mediocre at multiple things

<st let me start by vehemently defending mediocrity. Too often in our hyper-refined “civilization” these days do we lose touch with ~reality~ and fall prey to illusions of personal grandeur, as if we each had some sort of inherent skill or idiosyncrasy that had since been unseen on the earth. Studies have shown that Danes are happier because they have been trained from birth that everyone is just about the same in their talents—ergo, no one is talented. Instead it is of greater personal social value to relinquish your ambitions, even temporarily, and embrace the notion of hygge: joyful coziness.

This theory of hygge seeps into my central argument. I follow these rules personally to ensure I will not waver too close to skill, to the abhorrent shackles of, God forbid, talent. I will glean from the primary area in which I would personally qualify myself as professionally mediocre: poetry. Here is a poem I have recently written that encompasses many of the key values of mediocrity (some of which bleed dangerously close to how to feign genius: another lesson for another time).


The warm peach falls thud to the ground.
It is warm, bits of sun collected inside.
All inside the fruit.
That has fallen.
It lies there on the ground.
It is a golden fruit.

The above is, I’m sure you would agree, a rather mediocre poem. Sure, some stylized repetitions may bestow upon it the illusion of meaning. Sure, the sensory adjectives may invoke a pleasant, yellowy sensation perhaps as if the reader were enveloped in a throbbing, sappy pocket of late summer. Sure, one could squeeze out some juices of larger sociopolitical meaning: it is a reference to war, a reference to consumerism, etc. But at its core, the poem is not a good one. It omits hardly any of those tingly poem feels, and in the end may cause a few brows to furrow, thinking, I’m sure there is something here I’m not getting, but then again, maybe there isn’t. It has traces of being a “tryhard” — it breaks no conventions, it says nothing new or in a new way. The title “Youth” is not original. The author does nothing to build up her credibility here, no logos was employed, and hardly any ethos or pathos. No connection is made between the reader and fruit. This poem is as successful as any other to represent my abounding achievements in mediocrity.

Relationships, perhaps more exactly, familial relationships, have proven to also epitomize my fine-tuned skill here. It is imperative here to fail to meet expectations. Yes, you love your family, but do you remember their birthdays? Yes? Fine then, do you remember to send them something in the mail? Do you think it worth your time to write them a long letter in their favorite color ink to remind them how much they mean to you? It is key to do neither of these things; we must not excel in familial love. We must stay mediocre. We must say “Happy Birthday, I love you!” And post an old picture on their Facebook. That is all. We must tell our mothers we will be home by 11:00, and get home at 12:30 – not 2:00 AM, but not on time.

In the end, don’t ever fear to not meet expectations, to be repetitive in your diction in artistic spheres. Fooling people you are cleverer than you are is in itself an art, but we aren’t fantastic at that either. Find yourself a comfortable lounging position of mediocrity and stay there. This article itself is mediocre — it may never improve from where it is now, but it certainly won’t get any worse.

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