Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can't Get There From Here

I took Lin to dinner tonight. We haven't gone out much lately because of finances so I figured we were due. She asked me while there a question whose origin is a mystery to me, but one that was easy to answer despite how it should have seemed. "If you could start all over, like from your teens, and money wasn't an issue, what do you think you'd be doing now?"

"You mean would I go to college and what would I take if I did?"

"Exactly."

I admit I did daydream for perhaps 30 seconds, various disciplines and their assorted careers flashing before my mind's eye, until a bolt of lightening interrupted my scanning the horizon. First off, brutally honest, I doubt I'd have ever graduated college, even if I had made the effort to join the in crowd. My concentration is crap, my study habits abysmal and my will to live suspect. I would likely have gotten middling grades at best and been so despondent over the obvious fact that a degree based on mediocrity would only land me a job I would know only enough about to hate, that I'd have quit midstream anyway. (Based on my record I'd have stuck it out until I was only a few credits from my BA and then started the dean's office on fire or pissed in his tropical fish tank)

But the real answer had nothing to do with college, or talent, or anything else having to do with financial forward motion. I was not born with the Alpha gene. Even had I finished in the top ten of my class, even had I gone on to the appropriate doctorate degree, I would never have been able to push my way through doors and prance my thoroughbred-ness to prospective employers, because I'm just not built that way. I would venture that I'm no Beta either. Oh I can lead and or follow when necessary, if there's a pressing need and no one else will step up, but neither is my bent. I'd call myself a gamma, a lone wolf. (Now at this point I'm sure someone can and perhaps will correct me by naming what I am based on the scientific x academic models of Greek Letterage, but in the meantime I'll stick with Gamma)

It's a little like my theory on the idea that you shouldn't pay attention to what others think of you. That of course would be absolutely true, were you the only human being on the planet, or if your future depended on you alone, you control monkey you. As it is, at least in my life, what I've thought of myself has never mattered much, or at least AS much as others' opinion. It affects relationships, jobs and general welfare and all the self esteem I can muster won't buy me an air mattress to sleep on. The only relevance to this paragraph is that an Alpha dog has the ability, generally, to create a better impression through aggressive actions. A Gamma hangs back, content to wait for the golden goose to come falling from the sky and land on him or her, showing the Gamma's hidden powers and good karma magnetism, prodding all within visual range to flock around and adopt the Gamma as a friend, high paid employee and good luck charm.

I could have a doctorate in music and never have the wherewithal to join a band. I could be a rocket scientist, and find myself at 65 having landed a spaceship on the moon, but one that I created in my garage and launched from my backyard with only a few neighbors and relatives watching. Just as I'm the guy who may write four or five books, and if I were to be "discovered" as an author worthy of a mass audience, it won't be until well after I and my wife are dead, leaving no one to collect royalties but the bastards who publish my works claiming intellectual copyright forfeit by lack of heirs. In other words, were I to start over and money weren't a problem, I'd still wind up being the same loser I am today only I might be able to say I'm a college dropout rather than a high school type.

I thanked Linda for asking me the question, keeping the "loser" thing to myself as she wouldn't want to be reminded. She got every word, unlike some speeches I make. She's a woman that does have a degree, was Suma Cum, and never worked in her profession because she couldn't get aggressive with the "job market"; she couldn't force herself into "the niche". She has it rougher than I really. She coulda been a contender. I was always gonna be a ne'er-do-well.

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