Thomas Factotum

“Half assed ain’t half bad,” I say. By doing so, you can do a lot of things fairly well without being an expert and you will never be boring because of your diversity. Take golf for instance, one hole I might par or on very rare occasions birdie and on the next hole, I might duck hook one and take the shingles off the side of the house that someoneis brave enough to build on the edge of a fairway. I still love it.

I’m notexactly apolymath(a word derived from theGreeks meaning”understanding or having learnt in quantity”); Butperhaps, I am a little Leonardo Da Vinci-esque orsimply a person who excels in multiple fields, particularly in both the arts and sciences. I have fallen off many skateboards and surfboards, much to my body’s chagrin, butI do take great pleasure in the hills I have skated down and the swells I have ridden well. But Tony Hawk has nothing to fear and I will not be cast in the next film version of Endless Summer.

Thecommon term for this phenomenon today is Renaissance man, but also one could be called a Homo universalis or Uomo universale.both of whichtranslate as “universal person” or “universal man” depending on yourGreek or Latin leanings. I am not Will Durant when it comes to philosophy, but I love to read and study men and women who take the time to think and I have my moments in between being a bonehead, when I see the wisdom in all things.Jack of all trades, master of none is a common figure of speech, describing a person who is competent with many skills but is not very good with one particular skill. The term has become as Wikipedia notesa bit cliche, but I hear it all the time. I have painted original stuff, write poems, and have penned a few books along withhundreds of essays, but Picasso,Sandburg, or Hemingway will not be surpassed by my skills. Actuallythe Jack of all Trades term isa truncated version of the true epithet. The figure of speech in its entirety is “Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than master of one”. I like that. The term Jill of all trades is gaining usage to describe women who are similarly skilled. It’s about time. I want my daughter to be a Jill if she wants to. Look I wanted to bea real mover and shaker at one time and made a play.It didn’t work out. Now I’m a smallentrepreneur who is happier than a pig in…you get the point. The same thing really with half the stress who works with people he likes,a microcosm thereof.

My favoriteterm for half-assed is Johannes factotum (“Johnny do-it-all”) now that I have discovered it. Famously, the term was used by Robert Greene in the earliest surviving written reference to Shakespeare.Greene disparages Shakespeare (under the name ‘Shake-scene’) for being an actor who has the temerity to write plays, and for committing out and out plagiarism. I, too, am an actor, having once tried out for film roles and the Dukes of HazzardÂTV series in the 1970’s. I had to return to my day job andÂI’m now content in community theatre. I haveplagiarized in a way having borrowed some of what I know and do from a lot of you. I haveobserved and learned from your work ethics,the way you treat people,andyour zestfor lifeand adopted it for my own. Most of all I have taken the reflection I see in you of the Divine One, the Father of all of us and incorporated it with my individual experience. Anyone who knows me also know that I always have a list of things I want to try & places I want to go coupled with a desire to meet and seeand interact with interesting people. God is a dynamic movingtour de force in mylife as well as an ancient. Therefore for today, I dub myself, ThomasFactotum, Tommy do-it-all. I’m going to give it a go.

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