The Best Thing You Will Hear Today
Online Humility and Superlatives


Did you ever hear someone say, “this is the best thing you will hear today?”  Well, they’re either full of themselves, desperate for attention, or both.

Which brings me to The Best Thing You Will Hear Today — a story about my friend who we’ll call Jimmy Spears.  To call Jimmy a friend, however, is facebook exaggeration. I knew Jimmy 40 years ago, when we were fellow employees at a Costa Mesa shop that sold vinyl — a record store, they were called.  Jimmy was a good musician with grand aspirations, but there was something I didn’t like about his ego.  Eventually, we lost contact.   Forty years went by.  During that time, I became convinced that nostalgia is a disease and I tried to stay healthy by avoiding the past.  Then facebook came along.  I didn’t use the social network to contact old classmates or acquaintances.  I didn’t “like” my old high school page.  I didn’t try to resurrect old times.  But a mutual facebook friend asked me to friend Jimmy.  So I did. 

I learned from Jimmy’s facebook timeline that he never hit it — never signed a recording contract.  Some of his friends did and that’s when Jimmy started drinking, according to Jimmy.  By the way, facebook Jimmy was single, recovered, 10 years dry and still looking for a break in the music business.

Another year went by.  I generally ignored Jimmy’s posts. Then, without warning, Jimmy hit a music career high spot.  He signed a recording contract. 

 “This is the best thing you’ll hear today,” Jimmy’s facebook timeline post said.   “I still can't sleep.  Last night was one for the books. I owned the club from the first note, and it kept getting better.  After the set, people stomped and cheered.   So... for the friends who came and saw me hit one out of the park, thank you so much for coming.  And for those who couldn't make it, (I assume he was talking to facebook friends like me). “And for those who couldn't make it, please do yourselves a favor and make an effort to come see me.”

Hold on, Jimmy.  Do myself a favor?  Make an effort?  Is that ego-driven alcoholic personality of yours making your own arrogance too hard to see?

Jimmy, oblivious to my personal thoughts, continued, “I am at the top of my game these days,” he posted, “and I promise that I will touch you deeply.”  Jesus, Mary and Joseph. You’ve already touched me deeply, Jimmy, and I think I’m going to be sick.  It’s one thing to feel the magic.  It’s quite another thing to express it with conceit.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m happy for you, Jimmy.  I know you’ve been at this for a long time, but humility might be something for you to consider.  It’s not just for the meek.  In fact, it’s best practiced by the fortunate — like you, right now.  Humility not only means "humble", but "grounded" and "from the earth".  It requires not being focused on praise from others. It means doing the work that you love and playing it as it lays.

In other words, Jimmy, never brag about your abilities. If you’re really that good, someone will tell you.   And that might be the best thing you will hear that day.

— Nathan Callahan

First Broadcast July 26, 2013

© / Nathan Callahan / all rights reserved


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