Creativity Versus Mediocrity: A Country Western Parable


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The day didn’t grow darker, exactly. But the light shifted in a way that was almost imperceptible, the day that Mediocrity rode into town. It rode a limping horse with a second-hand saddle on which it balanced precariously. Behind it rode its army: Whining, Ambivalence, and Lame Excuses.

Taking a deep swig from its flask of Lethargy, Mediocre started to spit then decided it didn’t have the energy. “Well, well, what do we have here?” Mediocre said, with a mocking eye. “If it isn’t Creativity and it’s earnest band of overachievers.”

He took in our shiny uniforms, our gleaming stable, and our stamping horses. “How’s burning the midnight oil going? Those brilliant notions still waking you up in the middle of the night….” he drawled. He jumped as Critical Thinking threw a knife that landed right in the center of a nearby oak tree. “We’re not going to mince words Mediocrity,” said Critical Thinking. “ We aren’t going to bribe and flatter. We are going to focus all our energy on the most effective way to run you out of town.”

“What are we waiting for?” cried Good Ideas, hopping from foot to foot. “I have ten scalable solutions in mind right now. He’ll be nothing but a case study by the time I’m done!”

Visionary just closed its eyes and hummed.

Lame Excuses lurched forward. “It’s not our fault. The muse just hasn’t been in,” it shrieked. “We can’t create on demand.”

“There just hasn’t been time,” Whining trilled. “No one’s even explained it right.” Ambivalence started to say something, but settled for a smirk.

“We are here to run you out of town Mediocrity,” Creativity said firmly. “Hop on the raft of Malaise and go back to the lukewarm land of Status Quo where you belong. You have no place on the Professional High Road. I’m surprised you were able to climb this far anyway.”

“Oh, we may have cut a few shortcuts here and there,” said Mediocrity, smiling sweetly. “But we still got here, didn’t we, just the same as you.”

Just then, the Results Police rode in, with Metrics, Testimonials and Revenue behind him. “You aren’t the same as Creativity, Mediocre,” the Sheriff said sternly. “And we can prove it. Me and my boys have been watching you for a long time. You may have gotten lucky for a while, sped through a few assignments, took the easy way when no one was looking, cheated your clients out of decent output. We are charging you with jaywalking across the street of Hard Work, shoplifting fancy buzzwords to avoid genuine thought and prostituting the integrity of your profession. It was only a matter of time before someone caught onto your Mediocrity. Let’s go.”

Creativity and its army turned and left, each blazing its individual trail home.

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