Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bricoleur

Prairie Mary's latest blog entry is entitled "The American Indian as Bricoleur". It set me to thinking, as all good blogs should. I think the English equivalent of "bricoleur" is "jack-of-all-trades". The completion is "jack-of-all-trades, master of none." Whatever I am tolerably good at, I am always aware of all the people who are much better at it than I am - birdwatching, playing piano, speaking a foreign language, whatever.
For a long time, this bothered me, I wanted to be outstandingly good at ONE thing, anything, as long as I was a master of it. But then, I thought, so Charlie X speaks perfect German, but then, that's the only foreign language he knows, whereas I, far less proficient in German than Charlie, also speak [insert languages]. Harry Y plays piano better than I do, but then, that's the only instrument he plays, whereas I also play [insert instruments]. Well, you can see what I mean.
I guess this makes me a "bricoleur".
What matters, though, is that I have learned to be contented to be a bricoleur: "jack-of-all-trades, master of none." The comedian Mick Miller said he left school with only two O Levels, in biology and metalwork, and went on: "So, if anyone has a cat that needs welding, I'm your man."

1 comment:

prairie mary said...

All I can say is that our town Jack of all Trades fixit guy moved away and left us feeling very deprived. He wasn't much at welding cats, but there were a lot of other useful things he could do.

Like double entendres.

Prairie Mary