The Ordinary Conspiracy

Dear Special,

I’m writing to warn you that Ordinary is conspiring against you. I think he is trying to take over the world. He knows once you are gone, the world will be his. He uses different guises (Comfortable, Relaxing, Equality) with the same intent–your demise. He’s scheming to get people to settle for the lowest common denominator instead of striving for excellence, or exerting any effort. He wants the world to believe that everything and everyone is and should be Ordinary.

Special, you are such a dear old friend. You were there when I was born and when my children were born. You attended my wedding. You’ve been to most of my family’s birthdays and holidays. I forgot to invite you a few times and always regretted it. You were with me every time I won an award, and in the quiet of the night when I finished my writing my book. If I’m paying attention, I see you when I look at my children, my friends, my husband, the sunset.

Ordinary will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of world domination. He’s stooped to going after children, as well as adults. He knows if he gets them when they’re young, chances are they will never know you. Ordinary misrepresents you brilliantly in his twisted play on “Self Esteem” (Success and praise at all costs) and “Equality” (Everyone is special in the same way and for the same reasons).

Do you remember when that basketball coach gave trophies to every player on the team and all the players’ siblings?  Or that graduating class that had twelve valedictorians? Where were you then, Special? Ordinary has even schemed to make excellence laughable and contemptible. Have you seen this bumper sticker: My kid can beat up your honor student? That’s a great motivation killer for anybody wanting to excel.

Oh Special, I know you remember the bride talking about her fiancé, the marine. The week before her wedding, she said to me (a complete stranger), Everyone doesn’t need to make such a big deal over him. He’s not that special.

Those words haunted you and me for days– He’s not that special. How could she marry someone she didn’t think was special. That poor man didn’t deserve to marry somebody who didn’t think he was special. Nobody deserves that. Ordinary was victorious that wedding day.

I know you’re going to tell me without Ordinary you couldn’t exist, and all the guises and aliases he has skewed are good in their own way. You’re right. I know the beauty of Ordinary. But given too much power, Ordinary can defeat you. And I’m afraid of losing you, Special. Without you, life is mundane and humdrum. You perk me up, give me something to look forward to and show me my value.

Special, let’s not despair. There is still much to be positive about. The pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding was proof of your importance.  Many churches cherish you. You are an honored guest at  proms, weddings and first birthday parties. You witness many happy occasions and achievements and you are present at every birth.

Even so, Special, for your own good, watch your back. Ordinary is out to get you.



Revised from a post from 5/2011


5 comments on “The Ordinary Conspiracy

  1. I had a conversation with my now adult son. I asked him what mistakes I made bringing him up. He thought for a moment and said, “Telling me I was special–that I could do or be anything I wanted to be. When I went to college I believed that and found out pretty quickly that it was a lie. I was good at some things, but not everything and it was a rude awakening. I wished you’d been honest with me.”

    I was stunned. I agree with your post. We live in a world that fears lowering anyone’s self-esteem by recognizing the greatness in individuals who truly deserve it. Not everyone deserves an award because one person earned the award. Yet, I think my son had a point, too. We can over do the message that everyone is special (which, I suppose makes everyone ordinary in their specialness). We need to accept that some people are better than others at certain things and reward them fairly for that. Find your talent and earn your reward, just don’t expect you’ll get it because you show up!


  2. Love this. You’re hitting on something that is so hard to balance in the real world. I find it particularly challenging as a mom, as your other commenter has noted. Trying to find the right balance. Thanks for this thought provoking post.


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