your online wet blanket   

September 9th, 2010

Man hoards himself when he has nothing to give away.

Edward Dahlberg


For sale: one very large tub of margarine. Must provide own crane for moving. $450. Box 31.
For rent: Great Blue Heron. Daily and weekly rates. Box 452.
Single Slice of Cheese seeks other slices to form a block. Must not be individually wrapped. Box 44.

The Mystery of the Lost Lenore

Listen to Part Seventy-Two

Click on the picture. (1:58)

Or start from the beginning.



Why not sign up for our weekly newsletter?

Don't Believe The Hype

Alexander the Great was pretty full of himself. I suppose that seems obvious. Most people would assume that you wouldn't go around calling yourself "The Great" unless you had a fairly high opinion of yourself.

It is hard to say with any certainty though whether Alexander bought his own hype. It is possible that he only wanted people to think he was Great even though he did not wholly buy it himself. Being tarred with the epithet "Great" could be a fairly useful thing if your object was domination of the known (to you and your pals) world.

Just think of yourself as an Ancient Mede ("What again?" I hear you say). You are standing in a field with your companions awaiting the charging Greeks and you say "Who is it we are battling this morning?" and the reply is "Alexander the Great". It would be a tad intimidating. Much better to face Ethelred the Unready or Charles the Bald. They seem like guys you might have a chance of defeating.

But the danger is that you yourself will believe "The Great". Think of Napoleon (not the brandy). That guy just got cocky. Now some of that may be Short Man Syndrome but some of it had to be his believing his own press. Bad idea. I believe there is an ABBA song about this.

Whatever face you present to the world it is best if you do not take it too seriously yourself. For instance, the you that shows up in resumes and cover letters is pretty clearly not the you that can't find a clean pair of socks in the morning or the you that got on the wrong bus the other day. Nobody wants to hire that guy and you know it.

I'm not saying that you need to be pointing out your faults to other people. It is my experience that folks are pretty good at finding those things for themselves. But what I am saying is that you should never lose sight of the fact that, fundamentally, you have no idea what you are doing.

It is also a bad idea to get too hung up on that idea either. Nobody else knows what they are doing either. Take a quick look around. Is that not obvious.

Try to exude some kind of confidence (if possible without being an obnoxious dick) whilst reminding yourself that you are an incompetent fool and a charlatan. If you can keep these things in some sort of balance you should be... well, not really okay but as okay as anybody else.

And while you are at it, remember that everybody else is doing the same thing. We are all just flailing around and NOBODY really truly deserves to be called "Great". Not even Gretzky.

Elrose Watermuldar