Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Things worth doing


Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.

Or so it was said by the 4th Earl of Chesterfield back in the mid 1700's. And what with him being an Earl and all, I have tried, since he first mentioned it in a letter to his son, to live by his words.

Until now.


What if you can't do things well? 

I mean while I'm doing them they seem pretty well, but after they're done they tend to look a little... crooked.

What if the standards are too high? 

What does "Well" mean anyway?

And what if it's difficult to do things well? What if it's simply no fun to do them well? What if there are complications in the process of doing things well!!? Everything has complications!!!!!

What if you do it well but it's sort of crooked and it's not your fault at all? What if there are mitigating factors beyond the scope of your control!

And then, what if you somehow, by some miracle, manage to do a thing well, but no one even cares. What if doing it well has to be for your own satisfaction? What if you do it super well and absolutely no one says "Wow, you really did that well!"?

These are very serious questions!

Do you know how long it takes to do things well? 

I don't know about you, but it takes me forever to do things well! So then a person can hardly do anything at all because first they have to learn how to do the thing, then they have to practice it, then they do it several times, then discard the duds, and then, finally, finally, FINALLY!, do it well. That could take years!!! What if there are a lot of things worth doing? Won't only preternaturally gifted people be able to do more than, like, two things total, ever!? And then if everyone is doing things so damn well, won't it all inflate the quality standards for how well things have to be done? If everyone is knocking out excellent stuff because they are committed to doing things so well, won't we all have to meet an unreasonable standard just to do things well?

I am here to tell you that I can't meet that standard! 

I try to do things well but they always seem to come out... funny.

So I'm just going to sit here, quietly, in a dim corner. And frankly, I hope to god that sitting in a corner is not worth doing at all. I'm not sure I can bring much to it.


  1. Your friend and oft-regarded blog presence Bob Dylan has a lyric I'm sure you know: "Do what you must do, and you do it well." I was thinking you could ask him what he meant, as I share your struggle too.

    1. I'm aware of the line, and it's a fine one. So I asked Bob last week what he thought of all this. He squinted his eyes, adjusted the brim of his hat, and said "Do you think Barcelona even needs another Midfielder for next season?"

      It might be my own fault for getting him into European Soccer, but I doubt it.


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