I have always struggled to pee accurately in my own home. It’s not a complete inability; I don’t stroll into bathrooms in beautiful restaurants and urinate all over the tiles, nor do I have a bladder control problem. No, the sad reality is that I can perfectly pee accurately in my own home; I just see it as something I’d instead not do. So, for reasons unknown, when I’m done with my pee, pools of ugly urine are left staring up at me from the toilet seat.
Unfortunately for me, there is no better metaphor to describe my life. In a family of very high achievers – my mother with a Ph.D. and my father a former international Irish rugby player, even my younger brother well on the way to representing Scotland at the same sport – an accurate assumption could be that I too would be a chap of high attainment.
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I am not. You see, if something takes effort to achieve, I will almost certainly steer clear of it. Because of my extreme dislike for hard labour, or soft labour for that matter, I rarely achieve anything more significant than mediocrity. To refer back to the previous anecdote: in theory, I could easily wee-wee on target; however, more often than not, I refuse to try. In so doing, I have to deal with the hideous sight of my urine splashing off-target and listen to the clamour of my poor mother – who often has to clean the mess. Once again, my sheer laziness almost excludes me from tidying my own puddle of wee.
On a more serious note, my lazy manner has had a few genuine consequences. Throughout primary school, my languid approach was of great concern to my teachers. I was forced into one-on-one tuition. I was tested on numerous occasions for dyslexia. My parents were even contacted about my welfare at home. Everyone assumed something was wrong with me just because I didn’t come across as impressive as my peers. I just didn’t care. On leaving primary school, I passed the entry test to a prestigious grammar school to all my teachers’ bewilderment. However, my leisurely attitude was not appreciated at this new establishment.
They knew I was smart: I passed their entry-test – they weren’t going to fall for my games. It was time for me to get my act together, otherwise, I was not going to be invited back for another term at that school. Thankfully, after only a year there, my parents decided to move to Scotland. When forced to reflect on the matter, lamentably, it is clear that my lacklustre approach to life, especially in education, has lead to grades much inferior to my potential.
To my family’s disdain, I am perfectly happy when being described as “average”. In my eyes, it would be greedy of my parents to wish for two high-achieving sons. One is more than enough, so I see myself as an anchor. I keep my family’s feet on the ground. My brother may be travelling the world representing Scotland on a rugby pitch, the William Wallace of Scottish sport in future years. Meanwhile, I might end up working in a dull call centre in Dundee, answering telephone calls from angry old men from the highlands, complaining that their “TV isnae working!” Of course everyone would be more interested in him, but that can only be a good thing.
If we were both high-achievers – if I were in a popular band – it would be impossible for those conversing with my family to not feel envious. “A rugby player and a musician in one family, how lucky their parents are,” they may think. This way, not only do I prevent the jealousy of other families, I highlight my brother’s achievements and keep my family in touch with ordinary everyday existence.
This constant state of mediocrity has had one “negative” effect on me, though: I have become a compulsive liar. Before you reel back in shock and horror, let me explain: I am not a liar in the vindictive sense. I’d never tell a lie that could hurt someone or even tell a lie that could affect someone. When I lie, it’s about the most irrelevant things one could conjure up. Since I was about 11 years old, I have claimed with absolute sincerity that a scar on my left arm was from when my cat bit me as I was bathing in the bubble bath. I’ve never had a cat. Nor do I have a scar on my left arm. Nor have I ever claimed that… but you get the idea.
Thankfully, my lying is petty enough to allow me to remain proud of being average. If they were malicious, it would be impossible for me to stay in august as I would be harming others, making me a much less than a satisfactory person. You could probably say I’d be a bit of an idiot, actually. I’m grateful that fictive cats have never harmed anyone; otherwise, I’d be in a lot of bothers. The two types of lies I do tell are meaningless exaggerations and white lies. It may be a matter of wonder, how mediocrity has affected me in this way. However, it is quite simple, really.
When I exaggerate, it’s because I am not particularly inspiring at anything so I exaggerate the success of others. I feel people like me are wasting the potential talent we are given at birth. I haven’t made anything of myself. Therefore, I require the success of others to be exaggerated to console me for my shortcomings. The white lies are much harder to explain. Still, I have managed to conjure up a theory, when you aren’t great at anything, the world can be quite dull. I may be attempting to create a fanciful world around me that is more entertaining than the sometimes dreary life I live in.
However, my way of living has brought mostly me fond memories. For example, when I was finally old enough to walk to school on my own, the standard route was not for me. Although a pavement led straight to my school, I chose to take a more direct route. As a result, I would trudge through a stream that cut about thirty seconds off my journey and come into school soaking wet every morning.
Now when I think about it, it’s pretty clear why they were concerned about my home life… But anyway, in my opinion, warm memories are not created by being average. If I were a more logical child, I would have walked to school on the pavement every morning and be unable to chuckle every time I recall incidents like that. I am glad my mind works differently.
When I contemplate it all, I think society as a whole should be glad for chaps like me. If everyone worked hard and became a genius, the word “genius” would be redundant as everyone would be of the same ability. Furthermore, if that were the case, geniuses would stop trying to gain prestige and become average again, meaning the world’s intelligence would be thrown into chaos. So basically, Joe, like me, is saving the world from an IQ disaster.
We are accidentally preserving the world’s intelligence, and I, for one am proud of being mediocre. So yes, unfortunately for my mother, I am afraid I am going to continue peeing on the toilet seat; I am going to continue living an idle lifestyle; I am going to continue being mediocre. This way of life to which I have grown accustomed is treating me well. I get out what I put into society, and that seems fair.