Mediocrity and You: Living the Dream

Or, How Step Brothers Forced Me to Stare Deep Into the Abyss
I have a confession.
I am terrified of mediocrity.
I already knew this, but I really felt it while watching Step Brothers. Sure, the movie is funny–but it’s also deeply sad. Not sad as in I’m heartbroken that the cute dog in the movie died. It’s a much deeper and more fundamental sadness.

That’s not to say that the death of a cute and lovable dog isn’t sad–it is. But watching ninety-eight minutes of two men having absolutely no purpose in life other than goofing off and messing up their parents lives was beyond heartbreaking.
But Matt, you might say, it’s just a movie! And a funny one at that!
 
Yes, dear reader, it’s just a movie. But, a key element of satire is truth. Not just a specific truth–but a large applicable truth. The truth in Stepbrothers isn’t the fact that forty year old men live with their parents and act like children. I think the truth is that everyone has the potential to do something something great, like save the Catalina Wine Mixer. But few do.
Instead most of us choose to go to a boring college and do boring college stuff and get mediocre or even decent grades. Then we get a mediocre corporate job for the rest of our lives because that’s what the previous generation defines as “making it.”
I say we because that includes me. I’m in a reasonably difficult college major that will probably lead me to work for a big corporation right out of college with a good salary where I may very well work for the rest of my life.
And that scares the hell out of me.
While I could possibly escape the cubicle farm and be middle or upper management, that’s not a whole lot better. It’s still within the concept of working nine to five on a job you hate doing things you don’t want to with people you don’t care about.
Yes I could have money and a title. I hear constantly about money from my mom. I’m starting to get the impression that there’s more to life than that. And I’m not sure she sees it. My dad is fond of the phrase, “you can’t take it with you [when you die].” That perfectly describes what I’m feeling.
If it isn’t happening already, this will likely be a major shift in the next ten years. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, nor do I want to be. The Baby Boomers and Gen X’s definition of success–having the material goods that their parents and grandparents couldn’t have in the depression era–is phasing out.
The Millennials,  the Me Generation, the We Generation will define success for themselves. I can only guess what it looks like, but it will be different. As with generations past, I don’t expect our parents to understand it–nor would I want them to.
But I do know that this generation will be far from mediocre. And for this realization, I have to thank a 2008 comedy starring Will Ferrell. And the Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer.

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