12/01/2006

When I am King: National Insecurity

When I am King...

Programs will be instituted that will ensure that we all feel bad about ourselves.

When we strive to achieve, we are trying to do better. Better than what? Ourselves? That's impossible, by definition; try as we might, we're always going to end up in a dead heat. So we try to do better than we would do otherwise.

What's actually going on here is that we're continually trying to do better because we think we suck. Honestly, which one of us can rightly claim that they are absolutely confident in what they do and have no doubt whatsoever in their knowledge or decisions? How many of us, instead, have some niggling doubt, or maybe even certain knowledge, that:
  • we don't know what the hell we're doing?
  • we don't look very good?
  • we basically have messed up everything in life and it's all been going downhill for some time?
I've counted the hands in the audience; it's pretty much unanimous, discounting the ones that didn't hear the question.

This fact of human existence, our persistent perception of our inadequacies, is what makes us strive to be better. Better than we are, better than we could be, and hopefully better than that guy next to us.

And what happens when we do better? Does the doubt go away? Of course not; we just doubt things on an entirely new level. So we keep trying. And the bigger the doubts, the harder we try.

Think how much we could accomplish as a society if we felt even worse about ourselves. There is no mountain too high, as long as we think we can't climb well enough. No river too wide, as long as we're certain we can't swim well enough. No road too long, as long as our shoes won't hold up.
  • My administration will immediately institute programs to make everyone feel much worse about themselves. There are many areas that will be addressed:
  • Academics: Standardized tests will be introduced in schools that no child will score well on.
  • Looks: Television shows and movies, which currently hire only a handful of normal-looking people, will no longer be allowed to hire anyone less than inhumanly beautiful.
  • Size: Clothing sizes will be shifted down, so that everyone will be wearing clothing that is labeled one size larger; those who are now a “medium” will now be a “large”, and so on. These size changes will be carried through everything in the garment industry, as waist measurements will be updated to read 3 inches larger than they physcially are, and belts will have extra holes at sizes several inches smaller than would make physical sense.
  • Work: Corporations will be mandated to use standard performance evaluations with top ratings of “Mediocre”, proceeding down to “Suicide Watch”.
  • Sports: The three point rule in basketball will be taken away, and all 2-point shots will now be worth the new “quarter point” score instead. Nets in basketball will be raised to be one foot higher than the current dunking record. All national sports championships will go away, to be replaced by championships in sports that can only be won by visiting teams from other countries, such as Badminton, Ping Pong, and Curling.

But there is no reason this change needs to wait for my ascension to the throne; you can do your part today. Stop reading this right now, go to the person nearest you and have a motivating conversation. Here are some phrase suggestions: “Where did you get that shirt? Can you take it back? I don't think it goes with your hair. You haven't had it cut in a while, have you? And it doesn't quite go with your glasses, does it? Have you tried contacts? Or just going without? Have you gained weight? I saw that report you wrote on Monday; did you spell check that? I'm going to lunch with friends today; will you still be in the office when I get back?” Imagine how much harder they will try from just this little bit of effort on your part.

Ours will be a truly great society. I think. Won't it?

Post a Comment