You read the Post article about the world-class violinist who went unnoticed in the subway. Half a dozen people sent you the article, and you did your share of propagation. You even suffered through the drivel of commentary attached to the commentary, hoping to run across the magic sentence that would click the whole thing into place, but that you’re here reveals you did not find it. Problem is, you know what the magic sentence is. You may not be able to articulate it, but you’ll certainly recognize it.
You know you’re amazing. In your mind, through some convolution of lack of effort and untapped potential, you are the greatest on the planet. I can’t say specifically which crack in the sidewalk your ego has weaseled into, but I bet it’s certainly safe from the trampling of passersby, if not also directed attacks.
That’s not enough. Life seems to mock you. Here you are, greatest in the world, and your friends treat you just like anyone else. Girls don’t fall at your feet out of respect for what you are. People do not step over each other to buy your trash in wait of its appreciation upon your big break. It’s like you’re nobody at all. In your lower moments, your subconscious nags you, mocks you, poses questions you have no answer to. “If I am the greatest (and there can be only one greatest) how can I go unnoticed? How can people read a post or two in my blog and just leave?”
And then, someone conducts an experiment in recognizing greatness. A really good one, too. Even maximized the conditions. They didn’t take some pop musician who can be legitimately criticized or fool with fields where greatness is highly subjective like writing. They picked a genre with clear hierarchy, a guy who is near the top of it, and had him play unquestionably great pieces. There’s no room for argument there.
Would you have stopped? Does that even matter? The article is not about you, the music connoisseur. Nor is it about you, the appreciator of life who has not time to stop and smell the roses. You are the violinist in the story. It is your own greatness that goes unrecognized every day as you scuttle through life unappreciated.
Photo credit: Timothy Krause