I’m so amazed with people who have skills. Turns out most people I know have useful skills. People can do extraordinary things such as fix bikes, write programs, be doctors, fill out forms, do taxes, be accountants, teach students all day, plan weddings, bake cakes, give CPR, cross-country ski, braid their hair, put on nice outfits, paint pretty pictures, fix broken shit, make toothpaste, write grants, coach soccer, drive buses, make documents look nice, use excel, engineer things, play bizarre instruments, make nice speeches, go to grad school, buy houses, talk to other adults, sew shit, organize their rooms, put on eyeliner, make pottery… HOLY CRAP!! I am absolutely wide-eyed with wonder at how many skills people have.
I have very soft skills. That’s a really nice way to say that I can’t do anything practical. On the other hand, I excel at things like day-dreaming, making up stories, and generally being kind to people. I am exceptional in vague qualities such as listening, relating, musing, imagining, and dreaming. I have no idea how I have gotten through life on these skills alone. I think it’s mostly because the majority of my time up until several years ago has been spent in school. I am a good student; school is where I shine the most. I get to spend almost all my time reading, listening, thinking, and then making shit up. It was great for me. It was a sanctuary in which I needed very little practical skills. I feel like a fish out of water now, even in a world that ‘celebrates soft skills.’ As it turns out, today’s most lauded ‘soft skills’ include being able to do all sorts of mysterious stuff to computers and ipads, and these skills I certainly don’t have. I have the sort of soft skills that would have been recognized in rural England in the 1700s. It’s to the point where the word ‘soft’ doesn’t even accurately describe what skills I do have. Perhaps ‘fluffy’ would do the trick. I honestly have no idea why anyone would ever hire me. I should probably be arrested for being a generally unhelpful citizen.
I’m trying, pretty fiercely, these days to acquire some useful skills. It’s really cool to be able to tell someone that you know how to play the violin, how to do math, or how to bake chocolate chip cookies. I’m totally perplexed throughout my bike maintenance classes, but still trying. I have multiple seizures whenever I have to do budgeting stuff for my job . I can’t get by on my good looks and fluffy skills alone. When people in my line of work start getting all technical with me, I black out. I don’t even know how to interact with my people my age. Technical this, finance that, programulate programualte, and all I can say for myself is that I’m really great at listening to music and taking the bus. Hey! That actually might be a skill.
All to say, that I apologize if I drive you nuts over my lack of practical skills. I may not be able to get from point A to point B easily, and I may not know exactly what you are talking about or how you know the things you do, but I deeply admire your abilities and focus in all these mysterious details and agonizingly complex logistics of life. And, I’m really trying.
Napoleon Dynamite had it right. It's sexy to have skills. Thank you all for your work!