Good Enough For Government Work: A Course In Mediocrity, pt. 1

I've been working on a project lately. I plan on sharing bits and pieces of it here to gauge feedback and interest. Despite the title, this project has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with growing up and figuring out what really matters in life. It's my hope that this project will lend some humor and insight to the tough process of becoming a 'grown up'.  So please, leave feedback in the comments, every bit helps! ------------

When I was a senior in High School my Physics teacher had a saying for when something was passable but not perfect: “Good enough for government work.” Now you have to understand that as a kid, I thrived on barely trying at most things in life, so when I heard this phrase I felt vindicated. In my 17 year old mind this saying gave credence to my lackadaisical approach to life. I felt, ironically, empowered by this statement. I even wanted to make t-shirts…but for some reason I never got around to it.

My parents always said ‘Cam, you should be getting straight A’s. You’re smart enough, you just need to apply yourself. (Read: Do your homework.)’ But I never wanted straight A’s because I never wanted to do homework. I did some of it of course, I wasn’t a total dead beat, but I always thought homework was a waste of my time.

Think about it, you’re at school for 7 hours a day. Why in the world should you have to do 2-3 hours of homework a night!? That’s like telling a Subway ‘sandwich artist’ to go home after a day long shift and practice making more sandwiches?

What did I just spend my entire day doing, playing tidily winks!!?

This actually happened once in first grade. I had finished my math before everyone else…because it was first grade math and first grade math is easy, so I started playing tidily winks with my counters. My teacher got mad and called my mom to tell her to ground me. Yes, you read that correctly, my teacher called my mother and told her to ground me for misbehaving in class after I had already finished my work. Can you imagine if a teacher did this now?

By the way, my mom’s response to the phone call:

“His work was complete?” “Yes”, my teacher said. “Well he’s your problem then.” And she hung up the phone.

For the record: my mom is awesome.

But I digress. Back to the previous discussion…

Multiple hours of homework for me after a 7 hour school day was not, in my estimation, a worthwhile use of my time. I had video games, sports, and guitar to play. I was a busy boy.

I fought my parents on this for years, no exaggeration. They deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for not killing me. Though this may be counteracted by the amount of time I spent ‘grounded’ in my room thinking about what I had done/said.


More to come in future posts!

Culture, LifeCamComment