June 14th, 2007

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

What's "ordinary"?

I came across a couple of different discussions in the last few days which revolved around this concept. What makes people "ordinary" or "extraordinary"? Talent? Luck? Hard work? All of the above?

You walk down a crowded city street, and your eye catches a willowy young woman dressed up to the elegant nines, with perfect make-up and this season's trendy accessories. Is she extraordinary in any way other than obviously having the means to be right up there on the bleeding edge of style?

You're in a coffee shop and you overhear two people discussing "The book" - are they both just "ordinary" readers? Did one of them write a book? Did both? Did one or the other or both get published, or get good reviews, or win awards? How "ordinary" are they? How far past a certain line do they have to be before they might be considered to be "out of the common herd"?

Is the mother of two who still holds down a full-time job extraordinary?

Or is it just the people who do something that makes you come up in goosebumps?

Take a look at this guy. If you passed him in the street you wouldn't remember it - he's the quintessential "ordinary", a short chubby guy with a too-round face and a cheap suit and hair cut too short. You learn a bit more about him in this article, and damn, but he's as ordinary as he can get - a mobile phone salesman, probably one who would scuttle if you snarled at him in the store, he looks mild and innocuous and Milquetoast-like, and, well, you might dismiss him as irrelevant... and then he opens his mouth.

Take a good look at the judges' faces, when he starts singing. They all *sit up*. Their jaw drops almost visibly. And practically the entire audience is wiping away tears.

That's extraordinary.

And it just goes to show - the extraordinary hides in the most unlikely of places, sometimes. Which means that we are all, to some extent, extraordinary - it's just that some of us never get a chance to show just how.

Late breaking edit:

Here's his semi-final performance. He is still amazing.