Posts Tagged ‘Zappa’


(I couldn’t find the picture of me surfing in Costa Rica.  This one will have to do.)

My friend Damon introduced me to the concept of one’s “Arsenal of Deficits” a while back, and it’s a phrase I continuously mangle by forgetting a word or two.  “Quill of Ineptitudes” is my favorite bastardization so far.  I don’t know if Damon coined the phrase, to be honest.  (Damon, chime in and defend yourself if need be.)  Google turned up empty, except for some results on English soccer.  But this phrase encompasses the idea that certain areas of information/skill are totally outside your experience or expertise.  It’s like the polar opposite of your Bag of Tricks.  It’s not something you’re bad at, necessarily.  The oft invoked “I’m bad at math” doesn’t really qualify.  Nor would “I don’t speak French.”  This is different, and it isn’t limited to academia.  I’ll give an example.  I’m a fairly musical person.  I listen to music all the time; I have for quite some time now, and I feel like I know a bit of what’s out there.  And I can talk a pretty good game — new bands, old bands, lyrics, album release dates, band lineup changes over time, that kind of thing.  But ask me about Zappa, and I got Nothing.  Zappa is definitely in my Arsenal of Deficits.  I missed it.  Never listened to him.  I feel like I’m past the point of being able to get into his music, because there’s so much out there, and I feel like it’s a bit of an esoteric field.  I’m also okay with this.  Zappa is not the only thing I missed, by the way.  Part of that comes from the fact that I listened to classic rock all through high school, instead of metal, burgeoning alternative, or punk.  Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits?  Great choice, Scott.

Some things in the Arsenal are meant to be conqured — “I’d really like to learn how to…” and you go out and do it — but other things I feel you can leave alone.  I don’t need to know how to surf, for example.  I’ll enjoy the beach with a book, frankly, and I’ll skip the sand burn and ingested sea water.  I tried it on vacation a few years ago, to see if there was some hidden undiscovered knack.  Maybe it would be easy.  Plus, you can’t go to Tamarindo and say you didn’t go surfing.  I should be honest here: “try surfing” might be a more accurate assessment of what I did.  “Go” surfing indicates some kind of success, with a kind of recreational quality to it.  My experience was neither successful nor recreational.  Nope.  Not that coordinated.  But I tried it.  To paraphrase my Dad, “my gifting lies in other areas.”

Other things in my quill: golf, 1980’s movies, skiing, barre chords, unicycle.

So what’s in your Arsenal of Deficits?


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