The week gone by — Aug. 15

“The world in which we live equally distributes talent, but it doesn’t equally distribute opportunity.”

I am not sure of its the line’s origin or its speaker — I only did a cursory search on Google for the commencement speaker in the ad for a local college — and it sounds like an inversion of the argument over equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome.

But no matter the context (and the possibility of my taking out of context, since it was a short clip) or who’s saying it, I want to throw something every time I hear it.

It should be self-explanatory (and infuriating in its own right) that opportunity is not distributed equally, but the part that annoys me is the claim that talent is.

And to prove my point, I’m going to use …

… this guy.

Josh Groban is one of the world’s great singers. Yes, while he may have received opportunities other talented people may have not, and he has clearly worked on his craft, whoever was handling out talents on Feb. 27, 1981, decided “This one … this one is going to be able to sing like few people can even imagine.”

As for me, I was a halfway-decent tenor in my high school choir — my voice took forever to change and is still not incredibly deep — who never tried out for solos because I knew that if I ever got one, I’d probably be so nervous during the concert that my voice would crack.

Also, if everyone had Josh Groban’s singing talent, his talent wouldn’t be all that impressive.

Although it would probably make the average karaoke night more bearable.

So … how about having some skill equivalent to Josh Groban’s singing? Clearly, that must be it!

Nope. There are things I’m good at, but there’s no one thing I’m as talented at as he is at singing.

But maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree. Maybe it’s not about talent at any one thing, but talent in all facets of life.

However, unless … oh, I don’t know … Josh Groban accidentally turns into Oddjob while throwing a Frisbee in the park with his friends, I’m not sure he could be so terrible at something to wipe away his advantages as a singer (and pianist, songwriter and actor, by the way).

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s turn to some talented writers, shall we?

What I wrote

I’m happy to show anyone who asks that I’m vaccinated … but no one is asking.

Stuff I read

Pea Green turned 40.

The resurgence of the pandemic, and the uncertainty it’s causing, is throwing Rosie for a loop.

Speaking of people for whom throwing things makes them a hazard, you might want to steer clear of Renata if you encounter her with an axe.

Jeff is having trouble understanding people who would let others die.

Emily confesses to a shallow habit.

Giggles has been in her new place for a week, and Becky is getting used to living alone.

Savannah started a new coaching gig, and is attacking it with enthusiasm. (It’s off to a bit of a rough start, but she’s trying to stay positive.)

According to Erin, the reaction to Simone Biles pulling out of Olympic events shows how society still doesn’t understand mental health.

Vee is struggling with her fear of failure.

Cass and her fiancé got some help to plan their wedding.

Christina was in a funk, but then she got out of the house. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

For all their problems, Paul believes this year’s Olympics were still valuable.

In honor of writing about baseball for nine years, Jackie shared nine, mostly nine-related, facts.

A couple things have gone wrong at Pepper’s house, and she wonders how long it will take her husband to get them fixed.

Austin writes that Aaron also had a significant problem with a household device.

Ally heard an interesting chant from her neighbor’s yard.

Rick is getting a little better at dealing with life’s frustrations.

Natalie lost her faith after her fiancé died, but she has gotten it back.

Jackie in Italy went to the mountains. It looks pretty nice.

The Huntress is trying to get into the swing of things in her new house.

Shayleene can’t stop worrying.

Zoe finds couples with their own special language annoying … unless she’s in one of them.

We wrestle with the inevitable by propelling ourselves forward in time and space. What do we build first? Where do we place the corrals? We step into the future to, of course, disappear. But we take trusting steps forward nonetheless.

I do not feel triumphant. I am not proud of us. My roof is finally fixed. But I know the town is still broken.

Please yourself. You’re just a kid with a tape recorder. You’re just an uncool mom who’s also a benevolent dragon queen. This is your one life. Make as much magic as you possibly can while you’re here.

Start calling yourself a writer today. Speak it into existence. You don’t have to win a Pulitzer to be a writer. You probably write text messages all day long. Boom. You’re a writer.”

If you’re going to cede the power of the last word to someone else, you’d better be damn sure that person deserves it.” (I have been thinking A LOT about this line lately.)

Tweets I liked

Suzi would know if I did it, and then I’d be single.

It was … at least for a few minutes.

Other than frequently going back to make sure I locked the door, I have no idea what this is about.

I do know people who turn their stories into journeys. I, of course, do no such thing.

If I don’t replace the bar soap, I don’t get clean.

8 thoughts on “The week gone by — Aug. 15

  1. I remember watching Josh Groban and Tony Danza in a silly TV show called The Good Cop. As I watched it I wondered what Groban couldn’t do. If your theoretical storyline holds, it’d be that he can’t throw a frisbee. Thanks for answering my question! And thanks for adding me in your list.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember hearing that he was pretty good but the show was not. It’s funny how I was trying to imagine something he’d be horrible at and I came up with “accidentally decapitates people while throwing Frisbee”! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing, Bill! Indeed, avoid an axe-wielding Renata at all costs (especially don’t stand behind her on her backswing — the axe has never actually flung backwards, but it is a constant fear 😬).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m trying to remember if I ever had a bowling ball drop behind me because my hands were slippery. I think I did, and I know I once hit a ceiling or very close (a bowling alley in a basement means low ceilings) because I was so tense I wouldn’t let go.

      And I was a good bowler!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with you about the talent! I’ve run into quite talentless folks in my lifetime, myself included. Your example of Josh Groban is a great one bc if everyone could sing like him, then he wouldn’t be so special. For the rest of us without any such talent to make us special, we need to diversify and find our “specialness” in other ways instead like via relationships, via work ethic, via determination, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

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