This is a site devoted to people of a certain age who suffer from Specialness. Our parents thought we were special and saved all of our artwork. Our teachers told us we were highly verbal. Our movies told us we could win a karate tournament from six months of training with a handyman, and make our family hot by going back in time. From Mr. Rogers to Stuart Smalley, we were assured that always, no matter what…we were…(stage whisper) special.
What happens then when, years after graduating from our special college, we find ourselves cleaning up puke in a stall during our shift as barback? Yelled at by someone younger than us for doing a mail merge incorrectly? Eye-rolled by a customer who absolutely had said ‘heavy on the coffee’ when we went heavy on the steamed soy? How on Earth is a person supposed to feel special anymore!
Yes, you could tell your customer that you can tell the difference between a Giotto and a Cimabue fresco from a medium distance. You can tell him about your Senior thesis on “Our Mutual Friend” which your adviser loved. You could even go back to the time Mrs. Brobeck singled you out for doing such a good job on the long division test! I did it Mrs. Brobeck!! But the truth is, he doesn’t care.
We have a long-term medical condition: “Specialness.” We are bitter, jealous people with few practical skills and lots of gold stars. There is no known cure. But this blog is the first medically proven* site to help sufferers. Here, when on break from our menial job, we continue searching for our place in the American pie-chart and assess how we got here. The economy doesn’t help. But beneath that is a feeling that we had so much promise, that nothing was going to be good enough for us unless we truly followed our dreams; a searching feeling that just over the next hill, that’s where we come into the world we dreamed of for ourselves.
Here, we take a collective breath in knowing we are not alone, and we strive to accept and embrace mediocrity. We still really, really want to be special, but, for the moment, we remind ourselves calmly, quietly…that we’re not.
Welcome to being Nothing Special.
In the days going forward, we share experiences of our own mediocrity. We let them go into the world. We read each other’s, and recognize ourselves. We may even take some comfort in the suffering of others. In the beginning, these “Blue Plate Specials” will come from your humble editor. Soon we open up to the people, and your suggestions take over.
Onward soldiers of Specialness. You all suck! And that’s OK.
*very loose criteria here, mostly a hunch—will not stand up upon peer review