I find that the English “nay” sounds much better in the above construction. But alas, I wrote the title last night while falling asleep to Conjunto Primavera songs, and my brain reverted to Spanish. You see, I didn’t even get past the title. That was how tired I was. Speaking of King James’ era English, which many post-literates find difficult to read, the corollary time period in Spanish makes for very easy reading. Cervantes is easier to read than Borges, and they are both easier to read than this modern Spanish romantic comedy I’m still hacking away at. Just to give you an idea of why, the main characters are still sitting on an airplane 65 pages into the plot, which is supposed to be set on a singles cruise. And so. They banter a lot and don’t like each other, and the female se puso como un tomate every few paragraphs. I fear that, pronto, estará cubierta con aderezo para ensaladas. Why oh why did I purchase a romantic comedy? I thought it would be light and simple. I stand corrected.
But I digress because I am the second type of person of the two, nay three. The first type is focused on a single skill. In an article at Vox Popoli some time ago now, Vox quoted an anecdote Garrison Keillor had of Chet Atkins, in which Keillor asked Atkins if he should take up the guitar. Atkins advised him not to do it because the world didn’t need another mediocre guitarist. Keillor did one thing really well, create monologues, and there was no reason for him to shift his focus to another skill. Keillor took the advice and was glad he did. Vox makes a good point when he passes this advice along to Scott Adams: The world doesn’t need another mediocre political commentator, Scott … You’re a great cartoonist, one of the greatest ever. Stick with the cartoons. Unfortunately, I don’t think Adams will take this advice, as he’s not a single-focus person. These are people who become masters at an art or other trade due to their singular drive. Adams is, instead, the type of person who can take a stack of mediocre skills and put them together to create one successful skill. As he himself has said, he wasn’t a great comedian or artist or businessman, but he was skilled just enough at enough disciplines to bring it all together into one package. And now we have Dilbert, which is honestly funny, even though it’s not great art.
I hate to admit it, but it’s true: I’m not a single-focus person, either, and I never will be. I have ADD. On a good day, I follow multiple hobbies and interests and work multiple freelance jobs, one in which I teach a combination of phonics and algebra (if not history and science). I complain a lot about having to teach without the help of teacher keys (I’m a tutor for any subject at any grade level), but I can’t imagine having a better job. Scott Adams stacked skills and found success, and I might not ever get there. And I realized at some point that I don’t care. The thought of a life without pursuing multiple disciplines bores me to no end. The difference between me and Scott Adams is I don’t need to bring all my mediocre skills to the world and, hence, open myself up to the subsequent censure. I will never, for example, post videos of myself playing the accordion or singing Spanish songs at full volume. No indeed, only my family and neighbors have to experience that onslaught. I do publish my books, though. Even as a jack-of-all-trades, I’ve poured most of my efforts into writing. So, censure, critique! Bring it on!
There are two types of people, the scattered jack-of-all-trades and the singularly focused master. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a master. I’ve wondered, but I’m bored just imagining it. Therefore, it’s not bound to happen, though there is a remote possibility I discover that one interest above all and apply myself to it fully…. Meanwhile, I will assuredly never be the third type of person. The third does not even bear thinking about. The third is the person who comes home from an eight-hour shift and zones out on Netflix or Facebook. There is nothing wrong with an eight-hour workday. I’ve worked those jobs in my lifetime. Rather, the horror is to be found in disengaging from the world, becoming uninterested and compliant in order to keep the peace. At least Scott Adams isn’t that, despite being wrongheaded at times.
But what about the woman who is bound to become a salad? What of her? I have no idea! Her plane won’t land! ¡Híjole! as New Mexicans say. Or, as I often hear shouted in Mexican tunes, ¡Que bárbaros!