Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wandering through Wobegon

I love Garrison Keillor's News From Lake Wobegon. Every Sunday, I settle down next to the radio and wait for it. I take quite a bit of ribbing on the subject from my older son, who deems Prairie Home Companion to be corny beyond belief. He's right, but I don't admit this. Anyway, I like a certain amount of corn. It's a welcome relief from the diet of ground glass the mainstream media provides.

The end of the segment is always the same: "And that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the men are strong, all the women are good looking, and all the children are above average."

Which suddenly made me consider which would be a better thing to be, strong, good looking, or above average.

My first thought was that in this society, good looks are all you need. If you've got 'em, other people will shield you from a lot of the unpleasantness of life. According to current research, you'll make more money, marry better, and be sought after for friendship. Good looks are definitely a huge plus. But once they're gone, you had better be strong.

"Above average" sounds good, but I would not wish it on anyone. Having been one of those children deemed to be "above average" myself, I know about this, so trust me. Above average means knowing excellence when you see it, but not being bright or talented enough to achieve it yourself. Above average means feeling like a failure having a normal, average life. If you are cursed with above average-ness, you too will need to be strong.

So there it is, my friends. Given the choices, better go for Strong. Because wherever you go, it's all Lake Wobegon.

1 comment:

Bon & Mal Mott said...

Well, we're neither good-looking, above average, or strong. We're doomed.