Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beyond my years

Over the last couple years here at my library we have unceremoniously hosted a biannual art show for the local school district. They've got these big black grid things that they put up all over the library, and they are filled with art. It's lots of fun stuff from class after class of grade schoolers. Naturally I wander all over the library and complain derisively about how all this art they put up is, like, at a fourth grade level.

When I told Marcus, the teen librarian this, he laughed and then riposted that that's pretty good for second graders!

Good one Marcus.

I walked back to my corner when it hit me: I long ago aged out of that ability to do something at a higher level. I'm not 16 and reading at a college level. I'm just reading. I can't do it beyond what's expected of me. In fact, at this point my only option is to go down, like, I can either play harmonica, which I can't, really, or I can play it, poorly, at a seventh grade level, which, if I practice for a bit, I can.

This is dispiriting. I think skill should go up forever. There should always be an achievement level beyond us that we can overachieve to. What if as a 52 and a half year old (today is my half birthday) I didn't just write, but I could be so good at writing that I write at the level of a ninety year old? What if, with perhaps another 20 years of aging and practice in the craft, I could write like a hundred and eighty year old. 

Whoa, that's like Mark Twain level! 

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