The year is 2011, and mediocrity abounds – in everything. Bad TV, books, movies, ads, songs, manners, and service – just less than good enough seems to be the path opposite of the one named Least Chosen. Attention to the details, those that pertain to exceptional, seem to have become too much effort for far too many folks – even in an era where calling someone out on their sloth is probably easier than ever before. Anonymous email services, the social walls, hash tags, the relatively reasonable price of bullet proof panes of glass – and yet a job well done for the sake of doing it well, and even a job well done for the money it affords the doer, is rare.
I can recall at least four incidents in the past week that left me feeling icky, and if I open the timeline to the past year or longer, I’m sure I could write an entire blog, multiple posts a day, that call attention to the various culprits behind poor products and shabby service. But I won’t. Nope, instead I will implicate myself in this mess because I tend to do a mediocre job at not accepting the mediocrity closing in on all of us. Readers of this blog are aware that I’ve few, if any, skills in the art of self-defense. That coupled with a distorted vision of a society full of rabid lunatics, who possess as much rage as they do indifference to their actions, leaves me silently condemning poor performance and craftsmanship on a weekly basis, at the very least.
Perhaps the waitress who essential called my entire family liars yesterday, after she forgot a good deal of our order, was just having a bad day, you say? Maybe. Although, ‘having a bad day’ is such a prevalent excuse for doing a shitty job these days, i find it a touch flimsy. If she was having a bad day, maybe it all started when some derelict left the oil-pan screw too loose on her car and she had to bring it back in that morning, and walk to work. Or maybe mere moments into her morning she was assaulted by the drivel that passes for news between the AM hours of six and ten. And then, I suppose it’s possible something she just spent a good chunk of cash on malfunctioned or really didn’t perform the way it had been advertised in a mind-numbingly bland commercial from the night before. All of this and probably more, might be the culprits behind the let-down that was her bad attitude – or the attitudes of the other three human beings who left me slack-jawed with their nincompoopery this past week.
Still, I said nothing. She might have been packing after all. She might have a boyfriend packing back home. They might track us down later, all of us, break into the rental and slit our throats – all because I reminded her I ordered bacon. So, she gets a free pass from me, just like the rest of them. My thinking being: they might have guns, toxic spit for my food, a quicker first punch and no concept of the ramifications, a cousin looking for money willing to do a hit, or an elaborate plan for my credit card number. I’m sure they’d do a less than stellar job at any of it, but I wouldn’t be around to see them get jail time because they didn’t take the extra fifteen minutes necessary to mop up all the blood.
After all, one of them might be the next Barry Ardolf – and even a mind as poisoned as mine, can’t stay one step ahead of that kind of twisted genius. My grandmother once said, “Peter, it’s not worth it.” Of course this was when I was enraged over the absence of baked potatoes at a steak restaurant – and frankly I still find it incomprehensible that you’d serve steaks without one – but, it made a little bit of sense. When will it be worth it? When can I tell a server or company or programmer that I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore? If ever, I’m thinking sometime after my first kick-boxing with guns lesson and the purchase of some dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you. That’s for you MB.