If you have no stomach for a random walk along a path that goes nowhere, save yourself and click away from this post. Should you decide to join me on this journey, please understand there will be few guiding lights, no signposts along the way, no light at the end of the tunnel, and as the old joke ends, you might end up being hit by the train. Following me will certainly end with the two of us being lost, and sometimes that is the desired outcome, the destination.
Things I’ve lost include a long list of things about me, shared with me by my best friend. She said so many things and these two comprise the middle of this post:
- “You are unwilling to be a dog or pony in anybody’s dog and pony show.”
- “You are afraid to show the world how good you are because somebody might give you a gold star.”
She probably also said something like, “You don’t have to be the dog or pony, when you are the ringmaster.” Or maybe I made that one up.
She did say something like, “Take the doggone gold star and don’t let that deter you from letting your talents shine.” She has a way with words like that!
So, yeah, she likes me. She thinks I’m “all that.” Sometimes she is simultaneously in awe of my writing and angry about the fact that I don’t do more of it. That is how it is with friends sometimes. The phrase, “expectation management” comes to mind. That phrase is fleshed out for my needs in a longer work I’m writing, a book on happiness. But that’s another subject.
Anybody’s Dog or Pony
Here is Wikipedia’s definition for those who do not know that colloquial term: “Dog and pony show” is a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. Typically, the term is used in a pejorative sense to connote disdain, jocular lack of appreciation, or distrust of the message being presented or the efforts undertaken to present it.
Here’s an image from that post:
The idea of being one of the dogs or ponies in the show represents to me something like being a pawn in chess. You are expendable, but essential to the show. A trained dog or pony is so obedient, so likely to go along with the program and to perform for a treat, that the word sycophant comes to mind. I’ve always resented and resisted any form of that behavior – I’ve tried to be a nonconformist, and that has been in my way many times. Sometimes you have to go along to get along. Yet, the world and often my audience would rather hear from an original voice, one that is generally creative. The guy who colors outside the lines and who knows nothing of the box people sometimes say you should think outside of, is likely to be the genuine article, not some regurgitation of things other people already say and do. And at the same time, I’m known for quoting other people, using song lyrics and movie lines and Emerson quotes to express my thoughts. See the top of this blog post for examples.
Somebody Might Give You a Gold Star
In another post, I wrote a bit about separation and my disdain for authority. This started in kindergarten, when the teacher first started putting stars on a chart for children (the dogs and ponies) who had done something good. My knee-jerk response was to say under my breath, “keep your doggone stars, I know I’m good too!”
My friend says, “Don’t DO it for the Gold Star, but don’t REFUSE to do it because you MIGHT get a fucking Gold Star!”
And now I’ve found that list of things she said. I’m not going back to the start to edit out that bit. This is damn near a stream of consciousness and I’m letting this stream flow!
Here’s that dialog for your perusal.
14:36:17 Me: I’m a writer.
14:45:15 Her: You’re an underachiever
14:45:27 Her: You refuse to get out of your own way
14:45:38 Her: You distract yourself with addictions
14:45:57 Her: Possible fear of success?
14:46:28 Her: There are others without any of the talent you have but who have the drive and desire
14:46:51 Me: Intransigent – WOTD
15:01:23 Her: Please stop rebelling from the Gold Stars. It’s time.
15:01:48 Her: You may be your own person. You do not need to be part of the Dog & Pony Show.
15:02:01 Her: But if you happen to get a God Damned Gold Star, so what?
15:02:33 Her: Don’t DO it for the Gold Star, but don’t REFUSE to do it because you MIGHT get a fucking Gold Star!
15:02:52 Her: That behavior has not served you well and will hurt you in the future.
No doubt you see how it is. Somebody thinks I do something well, so she wants more of it. Like any benefactor, she provides encouragement with a loving push. That has led to this blog post. Where do we go from here? Remember, there is no destination, I warned you.
- Cure my addictions.
- Write more often.
- Be more accountable to my friend and to myself.
- Write something every day.
What would you do?