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A Tale of DIY Mediocrity

Once upon a time, man did it himself or it simply did not get done. He hunted and gathered his own food, made his own clothes from the skins of animals and nursed his own wounds.

As the world population grew, hamlets developed into villages and then grew into towns. Humans had the luxury of specializing in their areas of greatest knowledge and sharing the services of their specialty in trade for the specialized products and services of others. Man (and woman) could now buy food and clothing of the finest quality from skilled trades people.

The people took pride in focusing on the area of their greatest skills and in providing the finest products those gifts could bring forth. And at the end of a hard day’s work, they were satisfied in what they had accomplished.  They went to bed early, and slept a deep, fulfilled sleep—knowing that they had done the very best they could do.

Meanwhile, in Mediocre City, modern technology and worldwide availability of easy-to-use software, machinery, and instructions for doing it all yourself were created. The townspeople worked themselves silly becoming a Jack or Jill-of-all-trades—and alas, they were masters of none. They were exhausted from their efforts and no longer had the energy to excel at what they did best.

One dark day, desktop publishing was invented. The tools of the design trade were made available to every Tom, Dick and Harry. A shout of joy was heard far and wide as farmer and seamstress alike dabbled in the creation of logos and promotional pieces. Digital cameras appeared on the scene and overnight, anyone could become a photographer. The boundaries of excellence blurred as stock photographs sold five for one shilling. Instead of going to the village storyteller for witty words, they downloaded a template and filled their own names in the blanks. Creativity became a thing of the past as convenience ruled the land. These were dark times indeed.

Because she no longer received her usual volume of graphics work, Designerella no longer had the money to frequent the seamstress and mended her own clothes instead of buying new ones. She no longer bought plump and juicy tomatoes from the farmer, but grew her own in an upside-down device she fashioned from a pail and hung from the turret window. Things were topsy-turvy.

Then one fine day, Client Charming arrived at Designerella’s door.  He swept her off her feet, wiped the ashes from her brow and whisked her off to the castle to design artwork for the entire realm. He broke the DIY spell, encouraged all the townspeople to return to their own areas of excellence … and they all lived happily ever after.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10

Moral of the story: A lack of excellence is a hellish existence, indeed.

All kidding aside—do what you do best to the greatest of your abilities … and support your local skilled craftsperson, artisan and trades worker so they can continue to do what they do best!

What do you think?