Saturday, December 11, 2010

Top Ten Lists

Ever wonder why the “top” anything seems to be centered on the number 10? Perhaps it was chosen phonetically as the best place to begin or end a ranking. A good looking woman is considered a “10” but the winner of a beauty contest is number one.  Some surveys ask for your number one choice of something and then to rate it on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being the best. It is no wonder I was never a fan of math class, it is not logical no matter what people tried to tell me. My favorite story from when my oldest son was little (car seat years) is when we were at a stop light next to a billboard advertising a can of beans for nineteen cents (there is no cent symbol on the keyboard anymore btw) which shows you how long ago that was. From the backseat, I get the following question….how come we say “nineteen” when the nine comes second in the number? Snarky little prodigy even then, but he was absolutely right as far as visual logic is concerned.  The idiot behind me blowing his horn due to the green color in front of me was obviously not as amused by this stunning revelation of understanding by a 2 year old as I was however so I let him know he was still number one in my book, in a “friendly” sort of way of course.

What got me thinking about this ranking thing was a question from the student who interviewed me the other day. Essentially, she asked what my best piece of advice would be for (blank) because the question applied to several different stages and scenarios of being an artist. After dispensing my words of wisdom I started to think of all the wisdom I have supposedly acquired by becoming older and realized most of it was not something told to me, but something learned from that pesky shadow called experience which follows us everywhere. Only when asked to verbalize the value of such battle scars does one realize just how much weighty wisdom we carry around. Such baggage is then sorted in a number of ways by different people.

First and most annoying are those who insist on sharing their baggage contents with you whether you want to inspect it or not. They know what is best for you and how to do something, when, where and why, but you can’t ask them “why” because that challenges their authority.  Some people insist on using only a carry-on which is crammed with stuff but refuse to parcel any of it out to ease a bit of the burden, instead insisting on cramming everything into a tiny space then complaining about it. I better stop this analogy before spirally into a commentary on airline security, which was not my initial point.

Back on the wisdom bus and approaching my next stop in Lack-of-Logic Land, (we have left Limbo for now), I also wonder why we award a best in show when we also have a first place. Would not the first place person be the best? If we have a best in show, then first place is really the runner up. Top ten lists don’t have a “best of” thereby making it a top 11 list. Countdowns always go down (duh) to number one, but song lists rise the charts to number one so being number one means you are either on the top of the heap or at the bottom of the pile based on personal perspective.  I remember competing in the running long jump at a track meet in junior high, probably my first and last time ever, because I came in 4th place.  There was some ceremony with a “whoop-di-do ribbon” for coming in at 4th place. Even I knew that out of 4 competitors, that translated to my being last. My memory seems to be that I quit sports not because they were time consuming or I was lousy at them, but because they seemed illogical and silly. Last is last, you suck, try harder. Don’t give out some pretty reward for trying…you need to try harder, lesson learned. Ahh..but I am digressing yet again.

Perhaps I should make a list (in no particular order) of the great pieces of wisdom I have acquired throughout the years from all of the wonderful art professors, not so great art instructors and truly inspirational friendships that have been a part of my career. After all, that was my original intent when I started this blog. However, due to having to tackle my daily list of errands (arranged logically mind you to make sense driving from one place to another), that missive will have to wait for another day. The bus is still moving and the Land of Lists is still a ways off.

**Addendum note – It was recently pointed out that my postings have become less review oriented and more “slice of life” commentary. How ironic, since my life has recently been sliced and diced in a number of ways, some incidents opening old wounds, some which will seep for a while to come and others that are healing but will leave scars. Humor is my weapon, writing is my medication and painting is my therapy. The reviews will come when I wish to share those thoughts and words. Stay tuned….

1 comment:

  1. loved the image attached to this commentary. And enjoy your writing a lot. i just embarked on a new journaling project this year and am being reminded how helpful it is for me to process this way. Thanks for the reviews, whether life or art or whatever might pop up.
    have fun!