Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Above average in every way
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-10-31T20:52:10
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.above-average
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Every once in a while I go to a restaurant that is excellent, not in any particular way, but only overall. The food isn't excellent, but it is very good and served hot. The prices aren't unusually low, but they are reasonable. The service isn't flashy, but it is prompt and efficient. The interior space isn't beautiful or magnificent but it is pleasant and attractive.

We have a phrase in English, “to damn with faint praise”, and that might sound like what I'm doing here. But I'm trying to do the opposite of that. To do everything adequately is hard. To do everything a little better than adequately is damn near impossible. It requires a global attention to process control, and a flawlessness of execution, that is extremely difficult to achieve. To be consistently above average is itself a domain of excellence. But I don't know any handy vocabulary for it, so it seems difficult to talk about.

And I don't think our culture gives this kind of excellence as much credit as it deserves. I'm not trying to rag on the Olympics, but the Olympics is the opposite of this: people train their whole lives, sacrifice everything, to produce a single perfect ten-second performance. There is no Olympic medal for being better-than-average in every way.

(Possible counterpoint: Professional baseball does reward consistency and overall above-averageness.)