Renaissance Man

You know how they ask in interviews what your drawbacks are and how you, faking embarrassment, say something which is a positive attribute for the rest of the world but is supposedly an unforgivable blot in your uncompromising view of yourself. So far, in my life, I’ve sat for 1 job interview and even on that one occasion, I was guilty of doing what you all do. My fault, I claimed, was the inability to muster anger. The interviewer isn’t stupid, he’s well acquainted with bull shit. He’s game enough to play along. That’s his job, taking bullshit for answers with a straight face. Anyway, he puts on a smile and says what you expect him to, “but that isn’t a drawback!”, and you faking further embarrassment go on to “clarify”, like in my case I was saying how that might affect my ability to demand accountability. But hey, that’s how it is, if they wanted honest answers, they would’ve called bullshit, and we would have cut the crap, and the websites wouldn’t have existed.

So, where I am going with this is I have a bad personality trait to disclose. It’s not something damning obviously, it is, at best, something that is devised to evoke admiration, rather than sympathy. Yes, that’s how messed up it is. Even your drawbacks have to be something that people stand back and admire. What’s your weakness? Being a perfectionist, not knowing when to stop working, inability to stop myself from going beyond the call of duty, loving my work so much that my bosses feel threatened. That, by the way, is why I was fired from my previous job.

My weakness happens to be the desire to do everything. And by ‘doing’, I don’t mean producing but consuming. What’s more, I consider myself to be a renaissance man. I want to read all the interesting books ever written, be they fiction or non-fiction, poetry that I understand or don’t understand. The field isn’t a barrier, I am as intrigued by politics and statistical models as by psychology and clinical trials. I just want to consume, consume, consume. I want to watch every TV show that is worth watching, and I don’t want to push through them in one single continuous session either, as I want to stay with the characters for longer. I want to watch every movie that stars likable stars and every indie movie with an interesting premise, I want to watch foreign films in between to fight off the monotone of a heroic triumph and a happy American ending, I discover a new director or an actor and I want to watch their complete filmography. I discover music and soundtracks and I further want to discover what is on top of the pop charts. I want to try out all the cool obscure indie bands and adopt a few as my own. I want to spend entire weekends watching sports, and why not do it on weekdays too. I want to get a job which pays me to watch sports and even then, I hope they don’t tie me down with one sport. I love cricket as much as I do football, and I love Formula One as much as I do tennis. I want to stay up late nights for Champions league football, and wake up early for American basketball*. I want to chuckle at every joke written or tweeted and feel smart by watching the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

I want to be well-acquainted with the front-runners of an awards season, pick my favorites and jump along or cry outrage at the final outcome. I want to listen to every album that picks up a Grammy and read every book that comes up on a shortlist. I want to analyse every scorecard and every box office report, and tell the form of a player and the time of the year. Alas, I can’t do it all and can only compile a yearly list of my favorite movies. Over and above all this, I aspire to be a career diplomat, shuttle between countries, and live out of a suitcase. For this, I am recommended 10 hours of daily reading to keep myself abreast of all the happenings on every page of every newspaper, develop my own opinions and a deep rooted appreciation for the country’s cultural values and strategic interests.   There in lies the dichotomy and there of emerges my weakness. Too many eclectic tastes, when I can’t afford and a day of 24 hours, which isn’t nearly enough.

A wise man once said, “When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting.” Excuse me while I decide which part of myself to kill.

*I don’t really watch basketball.



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