Handsome and i were talking recently about whether it is better to be a jack of all trades or a master of one. he considers himself a jack, and i'd have to agree. i don't think there's a thing on this planet he doesn't know something about. (seriously, you want this guy on your trivial pursuit team.) i constantly ask him, "how do you know stuff?" and he'll shrug and say, "i read."
but it's not just the reading, the knowing, it's the doing. he has skills ranging from art to home improvement that blow me away.
i envy his wide range, while he envies my commitment to writing. he thinks getting published makes me something of a "master" of the writing craft. i, of course, flat out reject that. to me, a master is somebody who wins the Nobel Prize in Literature or something dramatic like that. heck, i don't even write those types of books. i am far from being a master writer and further yet from even desiring that. but i guess putting a book out into the world does make me something more than just a jack of the trade.
similarly, in my other calling - journalism - i will never win, nor even strive to win, a Pulitzer. but i'm pretty proud of my two shiny Emmys - representing something in between jack and master.
the other loves of my life fall all over the jack-master scale.
- i'm no guitar pro, but i know the chords and can hold my own around a campfire.
- i’m pretty good at puzzles, but i’ll never be one of those people who can solve a rubik's cube in 30 seconds, blindfolded.
- i am, however, a master of Bear Claw. you know, those machines with the mechanical arms that pick up stuffed animals? i kind of rock at that.
(side story – i used to run a bit of a scam at the roller skating rink when i was young. kids would give me a dollar to win them a prize. i’d use a quarter to get the toy on the first try, then pocket the remaining 75 cents. i made a killing… for a 12 year old.)
to this day, Handsome will hand me a dollar now and then at the super market Bear Claw and ask me to win him something, just to see me do it. and I have to say, i’ve still got it. ;)
but aside from my mad Bear Claw skills, i’m really not aiming to be the master of any one thing or a jack of all things. i’m aiming for somewhere in between.
i want to try my hand at a lot of things… be passable at some of them... get pretty darn good at even fewer… and hope to come out -not necessarily a master- but at least REALLY GOOD at two or three things – a Jack Master, if you will.
that’s just my own personal goal.
but i will continue to be amazed by folks at both ends of the scale.
(side note: a great place to see both jacks and masters in action is on the show Pawn Stars, on the History Channel. it's astounding how much those guys know about history and cars and sports and just everything. and it's even more astonishing to see those jacks bring in the masters when they need a truly expert opinion.)
what about you? are you a Jack of all, a Master of one? or are you like me and aiming for the in-between?