Friday, August 22, 2008

The American Slug

We live in a society that promotes the idea that no one can be bound to a certain life by their birth. Everyone has the opportunity to rise up and be great. It would be wonderful if hard work was the determining factor in success, but genetics always weasel their way into the picture.

The kid in the back of the class chewing on his notebook will probably never be an astronaut, despite his undaunted determination. Astronauts are required to know advanced math and to avoid chewing on the expensive equipment.

I played basketball for most of my life and had big dreams, but when I realized I had stopped growing and was a slow runner, I could see the writing on the wall. No matter how long I practiced my shot I would never make it in the basketball world. Look up J.J. Redick for my best case scenario.

Usain Bolt, the fastest runner in the world, was just destined for greatness. For the first few races I thought his nickname was just "The Jamaican Bolt". No, his actual name is Bolt. How could anyone ever compete against that.

1 comment:

jq said...

What about that Russian, Igor Brekusaynrikord? He seems like he could break Usain's record.

(I'm sorry; I know that was just plain bad...)

To your primary point, I recognize that we can't all be astronauts and star NBA players, but those things are determined by the laws of physics, not society. What we do have is the freedom to assess the natural abilities we've been given and decide for ourselves what to make of them. We have the freedom to choose our direction, not necessarily our results.

Maybe Textbook McChewy in the back row will grow up to invent a revolutionary new denture. As long as there's an ample supply of teething toys lying about, the sky's the limit...