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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Recently I ran across a quote by W. Somerset Maugham and while I have yet to research who or what this person is or was, I thought his quote interesting. “Only a mediocre person is always at his best.” Considering the quote, I pondered as to whether or not I could have overestimated the word mediocre, as I understood it.

According to the dictionary mediocre means: of only ordinary or moderate quality – also barely adequate. Casting a glance at the thesaurus for words that meant mostly the same thing, I found words that agreed with my basic mental meaning. It revealed: run-of-the-mill, commonplace, pedestrian (did not know this word meant that), passable, so-so, fair-to-middling, average, medium and normal – and these did not surprise me.

Then the words after that had much poorer meanings that went downhill in a hurry with: insignificant, slight, trifling, paltry, meager, inferior, rather poor and second-rate. A word can be known by the company it keeps and these latter snippets of language were not a good crowd to hang around with. This was a disappointment to me since I had considered mediocre more normal and average than that.

The word is what it is and I must admit I have seen many mediocre things and products that were proclaimed to be much better than what they actually turned out to be. Then a thought stumbled across the early morning fuzziness of a mind that one hopes would be a little sharper after the brilliance of later thought burns off the haze. The thought was in the form of a question – can animals be mediocre?

This seems to come back in the negative since the natural selection process rules with these critters. What I mean is that the ones that are not up to par in the area of quickness or carefulness can become eaten. The eaters are not immune to this process and can expire because they are not quick or adept enough to catch something to devour and maintain health and fur quality – and what animal would want to live with poor quality fur.

The next natural question in my mind is whether plants can be mediocre. The harvests of some garden plants in my past have been mediocre but I do not lay the fault to the plant. All plants will grow and produce according to the way they were designed unless they have a lack of moisture, nutrients, proper temperature, or are interfered with by disease or natural disaster.

If plants are healthy they always do all they can with what they receive to do with. Considering this, maybe people should strive to be more like plants, at least in their productivity. Of course some folks would take this to mean that they should be rooted to one spot and never move.

Mediocrity is rampant in humankind – and the in things they produce – because we are the only creature given the choice as to whether or not we want to be mediocre. We all may have worked with folks that considered mediocrity their highest goal – sometimes they reach it and sometimes not.

Since mediocrity is a choice in the physical, one might wonder whether it is also a choice in the spiritual. That doesn’t seem to be the case since we are warned in scripture that God would have us either hot or cold – anything else would cause us to be spewed out – that doesn’t sound like a good thing. ec


Blogger Bonita said...

Now, this was a wonderful post, just so delightful. You certainly love the language. And, I'm glad we have a lifetime to kindle the coals of our spirit, some of us are just poor learners.

6/08/2006 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~~ Wow ! I am impressed
how you can choose a word and make a whole post from it. I do not think that you are mediocre !! And I hope
that I am only slightly better than mediocre. Thanks for your comments -
you were right Procrastinate did
deserve the !!!. Take care, Merle.

6/09/2006 02:51:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Mot a mediocre post.

6/09/2006 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

I have been convinced for some time we are living in the great age of mediocracy.

6/09/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - Worse yet is a poor learner with a poor memory. And yes, I do appreciate the language.

merle - Thanks, I do enjoy the world of words.

AC - Thanks, I take that as a high compliment.

TMG - So true - and all by choice. ec

6/09/2006 10:14:00 PM  

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