Monday, August 29, 2011

Jack of All Trades / Master of None

This phrase encapsulates the myriad ways people have described me. From old friends to total strangers, exes to groupies, family to peers, classmates, The Girlfriend, and yes even crazy homeless people.

And it's fortunate because this is how I would most describe myself. I like to think of myself as a "renaissance man" of some sort, kinda all over the place. But in reality I'm more breadth than depth.

Since I'm involved in quite a variety of activities, let me just list them for you:

The Arts & Sciences

Martial -- practitioner of Aikido, Judo, Hung-Gar Kung-Fu, Aikijutsu, and some MMA.

Musical instruments -- player of the saxophone, piano, left-handed guitar, clarinet, bass-clarinet, harmonica, djembe, and cajon.

Reading -- sci-fi, biographies, trashy fantasy, literature, graphic novels, comics, fact books, post-Modernism, historical treatises, post-apocalyptic fiction, Dying Earth fantasy, second-person literature, High Fantasy, fratire, the New Sincerity, poetic collections, and noir.

Tunes -- Jazz like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Vince Guaraldi, Thelonious Monk, Karen Souza, Art Tatum, Stan Getz, The Duke, Gaucho, Django, Art Blakey, and Charles Mingus; Blues like Elmore James, Junior Kimbrough, Ry Rooder, and R.L. Burnside; rock like The Whigs, Gomez, Cat Power, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes; Hip-Hop like Aesop Rock, Busta, Digable Planets, Lupe Fiasco, Ice Cube, Nas, RZA, GZA, and the Ghostface Killah!

Books -- shelves filled with Jim Butcher, Douglas Coupland, Shakespeare, Orson Scott Card, Koushun Takami, Chiua Achebe, Jomo Kenyatta, J.R.R. Tolkien, Salman Rushdie, Chaim Potok, Jonathan Safran Foer, Herodotus, Anthro textbooks, writing anthologies, fact books, trivia books, graffiti art books, and a collection of famous photographs.

Visual -- Jamie Hewlett, Frank Miller, Golden Age comic-style, graffiti, gothic, Eastern Orthodox Religious, doodles, severe sculpture, SPRFKR, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Gustave Dore, Norman Rockwell, Francisco de Goya, Hokusai, El Greco, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Melanie Matranga, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Miss Van, and others.

Technology -- savvy with computers, printers, faxes, Windows, MS-DOS, cracking software, phone-jacking, scanners, scramblers, PAs, logitech, pro-tools, recording equipment, wireless microphones, household appliances, Segways, electric bikes, handyman work, faucets, basic wiring, toilets, shower-heads, breakers, smart-phones, most software for PCs, and of course the occasional genuine video-game system.

Writing -- fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction, genre fiction, flash-fiction, haiku, sonnets, blogs, journals, news articles, one-act plays, political plays, comedy scripts, stand-up material, educational posts, creative content for websites, freelance etc.

Culinary -- sushi, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, pizza, fast-food connoisseur, Peruvian, Korean BBQ, Jewish, French, Bangers & Mash, instant-artery-cloggers, diner food, seafood, Chicken City, garlic eggs, Thai, craft steak, and even pickles with sour-cream.

In summation

I'm a writer, a musician, an inventor, a fighter, a scrapper, a gamer, a builder, a fixer, a lover, a sucker, a scientist, an anthropologist, a story-teller, a hopeful romantic, an academic, a saboteur, a doodler, a conversationalist, a collector of keychains, quotes, stories, and sometimes I am flaneur on the weekends.

I've tried my hand in the careers of session-musician, independent recording studio head, clothing retail, law clerk, entrepreneur, explorer, anthropologist, freelancer, ghostwriter, office administrator, and even a model! I am engaged in at least three intensely time-consuming activities at a time: university education for two Bachelor's Degrees (whilst being the the Dean's List), work at a prominent tour-company, and volunteering as the open-mic host for the second-most popular open-mic in The City.

My life is rather busy, to say the least. Hectic, insane even, would be better descriptions. Yet still I maintain a fledgling social life, and a rather wonderful relationship with The Girlfriend. And indeed, I somehow manage to juggle all these identities: jammer, student, boyfriend, revolutionary, employee, and nerd.

It's difficult, but being a Jack of All Trades & Master of None is my shtick, and has been for some time.

Which is why I'll never be as good as a True Master. I'm too filled with the periphery of knowledge that creeps in that distracting way from complete focus upon the Single Most Important Discipline that by virtue of being only that Thing which you/I achieve greatness.

Miyamoto Musashi did not become the greatest swordsmen in history by dividing his attention among ten hundred different activities. No, he focused himself utterly on the way of the blade, and in doing so became a Kensei, revered throughout the world for his great skill & knowledge.

But sure, Mozart was a polymath, and so was da Vinci. However, I am no da Vinci. I am not even Benjamin Franklin. Maybe I could be Robert Anton Wilson, but only if I manage to start a new religion.

Nonetheless, a Jack is what I am, not a Master. And that's fine. I'll never be as great as those other guys, but I'll be pretty good at a lot of things and maybe that's how I'll become great someday... By being pretty good at so many things it'll just seem like I'm great.

Or something like that.


7 footnotes:

Mira said...

Well, here's the thing: as much as being the Master is a great thing, being familiar with many things and possessing some knowledge in different areas can be quite beneficial.

exes to groupies

Huh? You have groupies?

PS-What's the Dean's List?

Zek J Evets said...


Yeah, I have groupies! (Not counting the girlfriend, haha, kidding!)

But yeah, I have/had some. But then Jasmin scared them all away...

Dean's List is a list of students who were in the top 30th (I think) percentile of the school for their GPA.

Mira said...

We don't have the Dean's List or anything like that here. :(

As for the groupies, if you're referring to the music ones, we all know there are individuals who are just crazy about musicians, and there's nothing you can do about that. (But maybe Jasmin can? :D)

Zek J Evets said...


Oh but I also have blog groupies. Or at least I did. Can't tell where they went...

Mira said...

Are you talking about HBDers?

Zek J Evets said...


Haha, actually I wasn't... but now that you mention it, they probably count too ; )

foosrock! said...

Be careful, you might end up in IB. That's where all the jack-of-all-trades end up. It is(was) the only way they could eventually make tons of money!.

Huge fan of Chaim Potok. His books helped me through my divorce....