“Conclusion: This Abdominal ultrasound is unremarkable”.
At first, it seemed strange, and almost made me sad, to read the word “unremarkable” to describe something so important. Doctors always use strange words to precisely convey their readings. I learnt later that in case of the abdomen, the word “unremarkable” is actually a good word as it implies that their is nothing surprising, and everything is normal!
The use of this word got me thinking. Imagine someone examining a Life or a Mind, and concluding that it is unremarkable. Hmmm. “Nothing out of the ordinary happened in this Life, and no interesting thoughts in this Mind”. Ouch! That would hurt anyone.
So what do we do? We spend each day reinforcing just the opposite. Facebook’s success is partially because it makes this very task easier. Most of us led outwardly “unremarkable” lives until the arrival of social networking. Now all of a sudden, everyone can post the little things that make their life seem interesting and remarkable to others. The count of ‘likes’, ‘comments’, ‘retweets’, and ‘followers’ are all tools to judge the ‘remarkability’ of someone’s work, someone’s life, and someone’s thoughts! No different from the doctor’s ultrasound which takes a few minutes to produce a verdict.
As much as I want to avoid being ‘unremarkable’ in my life, I now feel the urge to avoid the ‘remarkable’ trap as laid out in this new era of social opinion gathering. Doing stuff that outwardly seems remarkable to others is getting boring, and ironically getting ‘unremarkable’ . The trap lies in believing that remarkable stuff happens overnight, or at least every month. After all, you need to post something regularly so you don’t lose your activity count or social score. The irony is that real life moves slowly and cannot keep pace with the online life. It takes a decade to do some remarkable work, or write a remarkable book, or even raise a remarkable child! And everything in between, is outwardly unremarkable.