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Incompetence • Posted: Jun 10, 2020 08:25:43Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

On an inviting warm bright breezy late Spring day, it isn’t hard to find one’s self absently staring out windows at fluttering new leaves on trees. Thoughts wander through all kinds of realms, from today’s headlines to words listened to decades ago.

We are all going through some very troubling times. People are dying in record numbers, people we have held dear to our hearts, dear to our souls, along with hundreds of thousands we have never met and never will meet. The weight is crushing. And it isn’t lifting. Today’s headlines tell us it is getting worse, worse all across the globe. What could we have done? What should we be doing better? We need to stop this. We need to stop this RIGHT NOW.

And oh my god, the costs, they are astronomical, beyond imagining. Trillions, they say. And how much is that? Trillions must be like freight trains filled with cash. And whose money is that, anyway? Where is it coming from? Out of thin air? And just who is suppose to pay all that money back?

We in the self-serving so called “privileged” classes have built a kind of palace for ourselves, a multi-national palace that not everybody has access to. And we’ve been keeping all those who don’t have access at bay with empty promises, certificates of our own “lofty” accomplishments, and with fences, clubs, bullets and guns. Now it’s all falling down, falling falling down, crushing us.

I remember words spoken to me by my father many many years ago. And I suppose, since Father’s Day is near, and most of us, me included, are in the midst of contemplating losses, that it wouldn’t be inappropriate for me to share what he once uttered to me. He said to me, with stern conviction and disturbingly pained pale blue eyes, “People rise to their level of incompetence.”

Yes, consider that, people rising within the ranks of society until they finally reach their level of incompetence, assuming, of course, no self-serving prejudicial discrimination or outright oppression blocking their way. Both a conservative’s and a liberal’s ideal world, you’d think. But, if we look around us, if we look at those in the news and on TV, if we look at people we’ve had respect for, trusted, believed in, if we look at our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, if we look in the mirror at our own distraught visage, honestly look, do we not see a frightening amount of incompetence, frightening frightening incompetence?

I also remember back to something else in my past. I remember the first time I felt incompetent, really and truly incompetent. I was in maybe third or forth grade. I was in school sitting behind a girl I had a crush on. On that particular day, she turned round, smiled sweetly, and asked me how to spell a word. I melted. I had no clue. “Sorry,” I said, “I don’t know.” She then turned to check with a rival of mine sitting opposite her. He, of course, knew exactly how to spell that word. I felt even smaller, even more incompetent. That was not a good feeling.

There are lots of things about my dad I have never fully understood. He was a complicated highly intelligent enigmatic man with, I’m sure, many faults. But I don’t think he ever beat himself or anyone else up over reaching his level of incompetence. He just took the measure of things, decided there really wasn’t much more that he could do at the moment, and moved on. No guilt. No shame. No regrets. And no blistering indictment of those around him. He’d put in the effort, do his absolute best, and that was it. That was all he could do. I have to respect that. Others may have dumped on him, blamed him, cursed him, even spit on him. But I think that was really more their failing than his. He was true to what he could do and what he couldn’t do. And, for the most part, he was straight about all that to everyone he had anything to do with. He had what I would call integrity, something we could all do with a lot more of in ourselves and in the people around us today, especially in our CEOs and our so called “leaders”, don’t you think?

It’s hard to imagine what really does lie ahead of us. But I can’t help but think that if we take true measure of things, put in the effort, are straight with ourselves, and with those around us, we will get through this. Incompetence is not necessarily a dead end. My dad proved that numerous times. Even I, once I put my mind to it, became a better speller.

Be better than incompetent. Be resilient. Be resourceful. Be realistic. Be inclusive. And, be honest.

Sunday, May 19th, 2019