“If you could choose to be a master of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?”
As to this latest from WordPress’ ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’, the world is my oyster. Because I have no skills to speak of.
Heaven knows, I have tried to acquire many skills over the years – like driving, for example – but I am no Don Quixote, forever tilting at windmills. I’ll have a go, but if it’s apparent that I lack the necessary aptitude then I hope I’m realistic enough to know when to quit. After all, isn’t one definition of insanity doing something over and over again and expecting a different result?
I love to listen to music (spoiler alert: coming soon to a writing prompt near you) but my efforts at actually producing it – long since abandoned – were nothing short of disastrous.
As early as the age of seven, I remember being plucked from a perfectly pleasant game of pass the parcel at primary school and being told that I was going to learn the violin. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to and, as far as I can tell, the only basis on which I was selected was that I could read and write beyond my years. After a few ‘lessons’ at which I demonstrated utter haplessness, and out of respect for the teacher’s bleeding eardrums, the experiment was abandoned, to the relief of all parties.
I think I was eventually entrusted with the triangle.
Later, in my teens, I acquired an acoustic guitar with a view to becoming the next Eric Clapton, but despite the best efforts of Bert Weedon I never managed to master even the first chord change in ‘Bobby Shafto’ so that didn’t last long either.
What about sport, you may ask?
You may well indeed. I just about achieved a reasonable standard in rugby, being a decent kicker (none of this round-the-corner Jonny Wilkinson malarkey either) and – as much to my own surprise as that of anyone else – not being afraid of putting in a tackle. Football? Makeweight; always the last to be picked. Cricket? Useless batsman, nice – but wholly ineffective – bowling action, inept fielder. But by God I kept a tidy scorebook.
Practical skills? I am not mechanically minded at all, as I have pointed out before. I fully recognize that somebody needs to be able to change a tyre or hang wallpaper, and I have had reason to be highly grateful for that somebody. It just happens not to be me.
Apart from stacking the dishwasher, obviously.
The very fact that I have managed to make it this far in life without any of the skills that most people seem to be able to take for granted suggests that acquiring any of them now would be more of an indulgence than a necessity. So how would I like to indulge myself and learn a new skill for the purposes of this prompt?
Not wishing to change the habits of a lifetime, anything actually useful would have to be a non-starter.
Writing would be handy, I suppose.
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