Wednesday, October 12, 2016


So, I go to this concert where the composer is a genius, and the music is fantastic, and the singers have voices that come from I don't know where. And I walk out thinking "wow." But I can't help but follow "wow" with "I'm a hack." Because while the composer is stringing together intricate music and lyrics, and the singers are tuning their magnificent voices, I am buying groceries and working to make sure there is money in the bank, and imploring, cajoling, and yelling at children to get enough sleep. At the end of their days, they have a song or a video to show for their efforts. At the end of my day, I have still awake children, a still edgy bank account, and a body that just wants to fall into bed. 

The reality, I suppose, is that if "hack" is defined as I am using it here, a great many of us are hacks. I am, by no means, the only one out here just trying to make things work, with not a lot of time for genius and beauty. And yet, the world works because people like me are just out there doing what we do. Children make their way, stores sell what people need, mail gets delivered, clothes are cleaned, all because people like me do their part each day. Is it fantastic to hear good music or watch good theater or read a book that moves you? Of course. So, I am grateful for the artists and the geniuses who do what I can't do. But when I think about it, I am also grateful for the bank teller who takes my check and the doorman who welcomes me home and the corner fruit man who makes it easy to have a steady supply of bananas. Perhaps we are all hacks, but perhaps we add just a little bit of our own genius and art--in what we do every day, or in then moments when what we do makes a difference in someone's life.

I may always have that feeling, when I see or hear something great, that I could be doing more with my life. In the meantime, I will just keep getting my kids to bed, and getting dinner on the table, and making little differences in little ways, like the fruit seller and the bank teller, and the doorman. And maybe that's not being a hack--maybe that's just living life.

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