I decided some time ago – we’re talking maybe 5 years – that everyone in the world is really good at 3 things. And once you figure out what those 3 things are, it will help you to put your existence into perspective. My problem is that I’ve only found 2 of the things that I’m really good at. (Incidentally, I knew both of them when this theory materialized, which begs the question, Why not just assume that there are 2 things that everyone is good at and be done with it? And it’s a good question, but it didn’t occur to me that that was an option for maybe 2 years, and at that point, it just felt like it would just make it a lazy theory.) The 2 things that I know I’m really good at are:
1) …spelling words backward. I was playing the game Cranium with friends the summer after I graduated from college, and you know how they have that category called “Gnilleps” where they read a word and you have to spell it backward? Well, I got “psychiatrist,” and I nailed it. And then on the way home, my wife kept quizzing me with these tough words – debatable, intricacy, oxygen – and I couldn’t miss. I can’t really explain how I do it, except that it’s kind of like a Sesame Street skit in my head. I’m standing there next to the word spelled out in huge letters – I’m 6’3, so the letters are maybe 10 feet tall – and I’m walking from the end to the beginning, touching each letter. As I touch it, it lights up. And I realize how crazy that sounds, but it’s one of my 3 things, so just leave it alone.
2) ...shooting free throws. I was decent in high school – 88% my senior year – but now that I spend so much time doing it in basketball practices, I’ve gotten almost perfect. If I shoot 100, I’ll make 90 and be disappointed. I once made 128 in a row.
Now, there are probably people who practice spelling words backward and could smoke me, and I know there are guys who hit thousands of free throws in a row, not dozens. But I’m not saying that everyone in the world is the best at 3 things – that’s nonsense. There are 6 billion people in the world. There’s just not that much stuff to be the best at. I’m just saying that there are 3 things that everyone is really good at. Like, I don’t know, better than all their friends or something. Anyway, I don’t know what my third thing is, but I have 6 possible candidates:
1) …typing. I’ve typed this whole thing in like 10 minutes, and I’m making most of it up as I go. As you can probably tell.
2) …punctuation. I only know 2 people who are as good as or better than me when it comes to grammar and punctuation, but I’ve really had to study it, so I’m not sure if it counts. I mean, anyone could be as good at it as I am if he or she wanted to. And I should probably be able to decide what counts and what doesn’t since it’s my theory, but I’m still not sure.
3) …deciding when to send a guy around to score and when to hold him at third. I coached 22 baseball games this spring, and I made a ton of mistakes (hence the 9-13 record), but I don’t think I screwed this up once.
4) …fantasy baseball. Kidding. I suck at fantasy baseball.
5) …writing letters of recommendation. Kids ask me to do this stuff all the time, and even my laziest efforts turn out okay.
6) …doing math in my head. I don’t know. I’m okay at it. Probably not one of my 3 though, now that I think about it.
So that’s it. It’s one of those 6. Or something else that I haven’t considered yet. If this was one of my English Comp. kids’ lame essays, they’d end it with something like, What are your 3 things? But that’s why they’re lame, so I won't.