Celebrating Mediocrity

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Whoopty DooThis is one of those things I just could never get my head around.  Why celebrate or award those who just do what they are supposed to do?  The things we give way too much attention, just to say great job on doing what your told or should have been expected to do all along.  Are people so weak now they need a cheering section for every little thing?  I would have to say so, as it happens so frequently.  Personally, I find it absolutely nauseating.

I see it everywhere.  In the news, in life, watching others and having dealt with it for other people.  Though I’ll just speak from my own experiences this time.

I understand when someone goes above and beyond their call in life or exceeds the expectations of many, that they should be recognized.  Maybe not every hero in our world does, but there are those who have been awarded for their deeds.  That is great.  I hope that continues and I pray that anyone who does something worthy, is given the praise they deserve.  Just not for mundane things like doing your job satisfactorily or coming to work on time always.  I haven’t taken a sick day in over a year.  While it may be noticed I did so with heart disease, I certainly don’t want to make it a big deal.  So I lived another year without incident.  I suppose that’s not bad for a man who had 3 heart attacks back to back.  Yay me.  That’s all the recognition I need for that.

Now let’s talk about the things I have been given completely unnecessary awards for.  As well as the recognition I believe I should’ve never received.

Most recently, my pharmacy has started to grade their customers on their performance.  I received a score of 100%.  I basically never failed to fill or pickup a prescription for an entire year.  Wow, that’s pretty good for a guy who has only been working part time for the past several months and still manages to come up with the over $1300 for the co-pays in the past tax year.  Yes you read that right.  Still…  Whoopty Fucking Doo folks.  If my pharmacy really wanted to recognize my achievement, how about no co-pays for a month?  Yeah… Not likely.

I have several memories of mediocrity being recognized was while I was in the Navy.  I received two awards and four letters of commendation during my four years on board the USS Enterprise.  I even received the Naval Achievement Medal (which brought me much hatred) and a boost in rank without going through the normal channels (also much hate).

In the Navy I ended up in a position because of my math skills.  So that got me a fairly nice desk job overseeing the ships budget.  I was essentially the accountant.  Anyone who spent money, reported to me.  Certainly beat what I was trained for, Aviation Supply.  That would’ve had me spending my time kicking boxes about the store rooms.  Instead, I got an air conditioned office and a comfy chair.  At the time, in the early 90’s, email was restricted to Officers only.  Yet, this lowly enlisted man (only an E-2 when I took the job), got to have one.  They had to give me clearance and all sorts of paperwork because at the time it was almost unheard of.  OK, so some recognition but nothing crazy.  That is until they did some major inspection and quizzed me on my job.  I aced it.  Still it was my job to keep tight track of the money.  So the letter of commendation and being pressed and dressed so the Captain could say something useless and shake my hand was a bit much.

I was also known for my skills with a sponge, wax and a buffer.  I could make floors shine.  Mainly I only did the ones near the Supply Officer where I worked.  He spoke up one day and I was put in charge of a four man team to wax the floor for the Officer’s Mess where President Clinton was going to dine while visiting our ship at sea.  OK whatever.  Officer says, enlisted does.  Simple as that.  While the president was on board, I was back at work in my office.  Clinton said to our Captain, “I can see my reflection in this floor.”.  Next thing you know I’m in the hangar bay, pressed and dressed again for another commendation letter.  I waxed a floor as the Officer ordered.  It was my job to do it right.  I don’t see the need to be awarded.  A simple email from someone saying “Good job!” or “Clinton liked your floor.” would’ve been just fine.

Another job I did was requisitioning and filing of orders for supplies.  Paperwork rather than carrying heavy things about.  It was a job normally assigned for a First Class Petty Officer (E-6).  Just shy of wearing the Khaki’s of a Chief Petty Officer.  Why I don’t really know.  It’s not hard except when you have to chase lost cargo down by phone.  I was trained as an Airman Apprentice (E-2) to do the job.  The First Class went on leave and I (then an Airman E-3) got hit with one of those nifty inspections.  Again, try as they might to trick me or hit me for something wrong.  I did everything right.  This was when I got the double header of the Naval Achievement Medal and the boost in rank to Third Class Petty Officer (E-4).  Just for doing my job.  Again, pressed and dressed.  This time with a ship wide announcement from the Captain congratulating me for passing the inspection flawlessly.  A pat on the back would’ve been fine.  Certainly would’ve been better than the weeks of hate I received.

I also received a letter of commendation for my extra activities with firefighting and duties on the mooring team.  Though never did I save anyone’s life or do something spectacular.  I simply did my job and they went nuts for it.  I don’t know why.  Actually, I really resented it at times.

I have to agree with Mr. Incredible.  Things like moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade, is NOT a graduation.  It’s merely changing schools in most cases.  You still have to survive eight more years and getting your diploma.  Now that’s something worth celebrating.  Changing buildings is not.

Start at 52 seconds.

Then again, we do the opposite too.  We celebrate those we love way too much sometimes.  Simply speaking we throw ridiculous amounts of cash at sports personalities, while our veterans have to struggle to feed their families sometimes.  Our priorities as a whole are astonishingly out of whack.