Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's Not What You Know

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

                                   THE AGE OF UNLIGHTENMENT?

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

Dear Gentlereaders, 

I've written a few columns, three to be exact (1,2,3), titled The State of the Zeitgeist. This was supposed to be an ongoing thing, but it hasn't been. Well, it's back (tell your friends) and it's now called May You Live In Interesting Times. M.Y.L.I.I.T. (2) will appear in a few weeks.

Also, going forward, you'll find that I will be (well, trying to) limiting my columns to 755 wpc (HT: Gloria A.). Till now, the (theoretical) limit was 1,000 wpc (words per column) but I've often gone over that, occasionally waaay over that.

While the primary purpose of my feeble scribbles is to leave a written legacy for my grandstickies & great-grandstickies, I confess I wouldn't mind generating a buck or three for my efforts, "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." -Samuel Johnson

Most writers don't make much money, if any money, to speak of; the competition is fierce, competitors numerous. But I confess that my No. 1 fantasy (I am getting old after all; my fantasies ain't what they used to be) is to generate a few bucks for my efforts.

However, the market has spoken. Being a wild-eyed free marketeer I semi-gracefully accept it's verdict. I've managed to secure exactly one Patron who supports my efforts to the tune of $5/monh. But I'm a patron of four others, all of whom deserve donations more than I, which costs me $6/month, I've written roughly 140 columns and my cash flow is: (-)$1/month.

Which is why I'm going to spend less time on my column so that I can spend more time working on my version of the great not too shabby American novel. Easy peasy, right? I'll be rolling in the big bucks in no time.

Oh, and for the record, the "four others" are Jordan B. PetersonDave RubinCrash Course, and Quillette. And now, on with the show.

                   "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall." -Shakespeare 

Dear Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

It's not what you know, it's who you know; I've heard this unattributable proverb all my life. I lived in the New York City metro area for a minute, a long time ago. I knew a guy person, who was the first person to teach me a version that although nowadays is everywhere I will always consider to be the New York City version. It's not who know, it's who you, um... suck up to.

Both versions are true methinks. I once took a class, a sort of Business 101 (3 credits of my 39 official/certified accumulation of college credits) and one of the topics featured prominently in the first chapter of the obscenely overpriced textbook was the importance of who you know.

In fact, the author stated that who you know (i.e. networking) was one of the most important aspects of how to succeed as an employee in any business of any size, which was the focus of the book. As to how to succeed via self-employment/entrepreneurialism, that was the subject of a different class with its own obscenely overpriced textbook.

It's official, it's who you know. Of course, membership in a union, profession or trade group that benefits from regulatory capture or crony capitalism or overzealous occupational licensing laws can also be extremely helpful, but that's another letter.

Now, that said, as you may remember my last letter concluded with "'s not what you know — it's the relentless pursuit of who you might like to be." which was followed by a (To be continued...).

Let us continue. What I...

[Wait-wait-wait. From what I remember, the "point" of last weeks exercise in loose-lipped loquaciousness was that while paying attention so that you learn something every day is important, it's more important to use what you learn to figure out who you want to be.]

Keyrectalmundo dude! I'm flattered, you do pay attention. I'm...

[Which has exactly what to do with the first four paragraphs of this letter?]

Well, the — it's not what you know — of the first four paragraphs of this weeks missive are about occupational/financial success.

The — it's not what you know — mentioned in last weeks letter, the one mentioned at the end that required a (To be continued...) is about psychological/emotional/etceteralogical success.

[Let me get this straight. This weeks column, that's continued from last week, starts by introducing a new concept...]

More like a new lesson actually. I...

[And then gets around to finishing last week's "lesson." Have I got that right? This makes sense to you?]

Well sure. Both are important lessons. Anyway, life doesn't come at ya' linearly, particularly in this, the Dizzinformation Age. Hey! that's another important lesson. Two columns, three lessons, I rock!

Iggy and Marie-Louise appear. M-L starts scratching my back. So, Iggy, what do you think?

[I love you, Poppa, you're my hero. I need to go to the mall and get some um, school supplies. Can I have 20 bucks?]

Door SLAMS. Dana has left the column, again. Oh well.

"That is to say, it's not what you know — it's the relentless pursuit of who you might like to be."  -me

I had my first intimation of this when I was still in grade school. As you're no doubt tired of hearing, I was provided with what is now called a virtues-based education by Sister Mary McGillicuddy and her fellow Sisters of Charity when nuns still had hair on their carefully camouflaged chests.

At the time my fellow high functioning chimpanzees and I called it going to school.

While we were expected to learn all sorts of fun (and many not so fun) facts, we were also taught how to develop our characters in order to know how to act in the world and how to share the playground with our fellow chimps.

[With all due respect, Poppa, we got like a thousand rules we're aposta follow like don't be a bully, don't be a hater, don't be judgy, see something say something, you know, like that. Can I get that twenty?]

We had about ten thousand rules, I was told not going to church on Sunday was a punched ticket to hell and the cosmic sentencing guidelines were carved in stone. Don't get me started... but that's not what I'm talking about.

The idea is to develop a given kids character by teaching them to be virtuous so that they don't need to memorize 1,001 rules, so they'll likely know the right thing to do in a given situation.

[That's that Seven Virtues thing you talked about, right? I got a question. If I'm a bad guy and I know it, maybe even like it, ain't choosing to do the wrong thing the right thing? How's about ten bucks?]

Hmm... oh, yeah, here ya go. Poppa loves you. (To be continued... again — geez.)

Have an OK day.

[P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a Patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains.

If there are some readers out there that think my shtuff is worth a buck or three a month, color me honored, and grateful. Regardless, if you like it, could you please share it? There are buttons at the end of every column.]

©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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