Sunday, March 31, 2019

The best

In my excitement I can get a little caught up in the best. This afternoon I got to watch Messi play yet again and it's hard not to get consumed in the grandness of someone who plays at a level far beyond anyone else so regularly. His bestness is broad: The best player this year, the best player in the world, the best player of all time. It is a treat to see. 

But his was not the only best. The best was everywhere. 

How many of the 25 players I saw on that field were the best player ever from their town, or their high school, or their neighborhood? Half of them? The best Chilean soccer player currently playing was there, subbed in after an hour of play. And all that's just a tiny start. How many people in the stands were watching the best game of soccer they'll ever see in person? Surely someone was having the best day of their week, many people. At some point in the day in Barcelona the best cloud in the sky passed over head. I can see the best cloud that's in St. Paul right now. The best river. I can happily see the best person I have ever met.

This morning my wife and I went to the Mia, which is the best museum in Minnesota, and, among the hundreds of rooms, we were in a small one full of drawings. There was a beautiful drawing by Tiepolo, who I love, and who is the best Venetian muralist ever. Then, moving along, I saw a loose and lovely drawing of a couple of hounds pulling down a stag. I had never even heard of this artist, famous enough to be collected in a museum, but surely unknown to most people: Johann Elias Ridinger. The drawing was from 1755. In 1755, the card said, he was the best animal illustrator in all of Germany.

So how about this math: Say there are roughly  200 countries in the world. So does every one of them have a best animal illustrator? There are then 200 best animal illustrators internationally. But let's say that changes every 20 years. Let's then go back 500 years. There have been 5,000 internationally best animal illustrators. What about still life artists? How about drawers of houses? Dentists? Cheesemakers? Natty dressers? Singers? Whistlers? Bakers? Cobblers? Mathematicians? Conversationalists? Dreamers? Hole diggers? Puppies? Dishwashers? Library clerks? Bloggers.

Which, whether I wanted it to or I didn't, and I didn't really want it to, brings me round to the unavoidable fact that...

It's all a little bit silly.

And that concludes, for good or ill, the best blog post that I have written today.

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