Embracing Mediocrity And Swimming In Another Man’s Wake

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Office greenhorn and aspiring stay at home dad, Will deFries, wrote an articulate piece last week over at PGP about the blissful serendipity known as a hot streak. It hit a nerve. We can all relate to those precious moments where we’re firing on all cylinders and everything we touch turns to gold. You cruise on supreme confidence and momentum while seemingly doing no wrong. deFries dubbed this nirvana “riding the wave.”

Now that’s all well and good, but if we’re being truly honest with one another, those moments are few and far between. Most of us aren’t regularly going yard. In fact, most of us are happy to get the bat on the ball and squeak one through the hole. A hit’s still a hit, even if you’re barely beating out the throw to first.

So how do you make the most of this mediocrity you bring on a day to day basis? It’s simple: swim in the wake of someone making a splash.

There are countless success stories of those who embraced this philosophy. “E” from Entourage rode Vinny Chase’s coattails all the way from Queens to his job as a Hollywood agent and producer, despite having zero experience, and landing a goddess like Sloan despite looking like a spotty, disease-ridden potato. Even Turtle was pulling tens left and right, and dude was a fucking slug.

How about some of these backup quarterbacks that stay in the NFL for over a decade with the noodle arm of a pee wee football player, launching the pigskin all of ten yards? Charlie Batch, David Carr, and even Jim Sorgi are all Super Bowl champions. Let that marinate in your brain for a bit. Jim Sorgi: Super Bowl winning quarterback. If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what will. But you have to give the man credit where credit is due. He fully bought into his role, was a “good clubhouse guy,” held that clipboard with grace, and reaped the benefits behind Peyton to his sport’s pinnacle.

Finally, the ultimate example of paddling in someone else’s wake all the way to the top: Gerald Ford. Our boy Jerry is the only U.S. president to have never been elected into the oval office as top dog or even Vice President. He positioned himself perfectly in that wake, let the dominos fall where they would, and rode that sucker into a seat as Commander in Chief. Got to love this country.

So how do you translate all of this knowledge into your every day life? Well, first, locate a buddy that is really feeling it. This is surprisingly easier than you might expect. Has he recently been hanging out with nothing but dimes? Does he suddenly have an air of confidence about him replacing once false bravado? Have multiple brothers said the phrase “crushing it” in reference to him? If the answer is yes to all of these questions, latch on and be the Pippen to his Jordan.

The caveat to swimming in his wake is that you have to be entirely committed for the duration of the ride and accept that you’re essentially a remora attaching yourself to a shark and feasting on the scraps. For better or worse. There will be nights where the payoff is more rewarding than others. It’s honestly a crapshoot, but we’re playing the numbers game here.

Any schnook will bite the bullet with the less attractive friend if she’s still a stone cold fox. But true devotion to the lifestyle is in the grunt work. Distracting Nanny McPhee might be called upon you from time to time in order for your boy to close the deal. Remember, you’re a role player. Do your job.

However, when your buddy inevitably cools off and misses a heat check, by all means, jump off. You’re not the captain of the ship, and there’s no honor in going down with a losing cause. Hit the free agent market and sign with a contender. Rinse, repeat and you’ll always be moderately successful. No more, no less. But hey, the sooner you realize you’re just an average dude, the easier it becomes to find fulfillment in this thing we call life.


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