Has this sort of thing happened to you?

Not the specific thing, of course. Just something along the same lines as this.

When I was in grammar school (1950’s) I saw the Alan Ladd movie The Iron Mistress which was ostensibly about Jim Bowie and the invention of the Bowie knife. I was fascinated beyond the momentary thrill of the beauty of the knife itself and beyond the skill it took to throw it so well. I guess I still have a soft spot for that movie although it was much more a 50’s movie than one that would hold up today, but I digress.

Not too long after that there was an ad in a magazine for a “Malayan Throwing Dagger” that was “guaranteed to stick every time” and it was only $2.95 (or so) so I ordered one and was as impatient for its arrival as I have ever been for anything (although I still have the same impatience for anything I order and don’t get right away).

Since it was “guaranteed to stick every time” I began to throw stuff (sticks, rocks, other stuff) at things like trees and walls and doors and whatever so that when the knife got there I’d be able to stick it in anything in sight. It was an ongoing thing of trying to hit little things like skinny trees from goodly distances.

When the knife arrived it had some decent instructions on how to throw a knife, but it was immediately obvious that it was NOT going to stick every time! In fact it was painfully obvious that unless I held it just so and stood at precisely the right distance and kept my arm motion just so, and on and on with details, I wasn’t going to stick it up at all. I spent the next 5-10 years getting good enough with it (and other similar throwing knives) to stick it up 90% of the time inside 15 feet from a target.

Way past false advertising, for sure.

But the point of this OP is: have you ever been so utterly disappointed with the difference between your expectations of what you can do and what you actually can do?

FWIW, I have similar disappointments with music, poetry, chess, and enough other things that I think it’s simply overestimating my own skills and/or desires.


“Drink more Ovaltine”

Racquetball. I played it. I took Racquetball in college. I could still get stomped by anyone with even moderate skills.


Beat me to it, World Eater.

I always tend to be good in a few things (like drawing, a little singing, figuring out electronics) but there’s always someone that I know who is 100X better than me. (Or that would surpass me after a while)

Not to forget everyone excels at memory while mine is disastrous (and I’m only 22!)

Growing up, that happened everytime I ordered something from the back of a comic book or an issue of ‘Boy’s Life’. You think your knife was bad? Man, those X-ray glasses sucked. And those sea-monkeys? And the switchblade comb? Man they blew Chunks…

Yeah! Sea Monkeys! Ripoff City.

I’m my own worst enemy (as I suspect most people are). I have great hand-eye coordination skills, am adept at languages, have painting/drawing skills, am a fast learner with musical instruments, have a three-octave singing range, BUT…am lazy beyond belief and never follow up or invest the time to become truly good at something. It’s the sad story of my life that things come too easily and I become bored with them.

Speak for yourself - I got the switchblade comb, and it works just as well as you’d expect a cheap plastic switchblade comb to work (with vacuum-plated sides!).
Brought it as a memento from those ‘Underworld Chicago’ tour guys (those guys with the school bus, dressed as 1930s gangsters, who take you on a tour past various Chicago crime scenes - I took it with my girlfriend of the time a few years back, it was quite entertaining and we both enjoyed it).

What happened to your tag line, ChefGuy?

Actually, not often; I usually expect the worst.

Refinishing my late mother’s furniture; it is just not working out.


It looks so easy until you try it.

Is That All There Is? Peggy Lee (I think)
Anticipation/Disappointment is universal I’m thinking.

Drawing/painting. It’s so frustrating, because I can see in my head what I would like to have on the paper, but I can’t do it–I’m just awful.

I can relate to this, Magickly Delicious, and I’ve halfway convinced myself of the probable reason for it. Are you familiar with the Spanish painter El Greco? The theory goes that the reason his paintings are so distorted is that he had uncorrected astigmatism, thus causing what he saw to be transferred to canvas in that peculiar form. Nearly all his works show twisted and oddly shaped forms. Not just human forms, but almost everything.

I have astigmatism, although my glasses correct for it. Even so, I think that my drawing shows a similar distortedness to El Greco’s. I like to think that’s why I suck at drawing anyway.

One thing you might try to correct for it is to use a device like Albrecht Durer used. Build a crosshatch screen to look through as you draw and graph paper with good-sized squares on it. Then you can translate items in one square of the crosshatch screen to a square on the graph paper. It may still be fucked up, but probably less so than without the aid. Then again, hauling such a thing around with you for drawing’s sake would probably get to be a huge PITA.

There’s always photography. :slight_smile:

chefguyI so feel your pain. Jack (or Jacqueline in my case) of all trades, master at none.

Photography takes talent and/or work, too.
How about psychotropic drugs, huh?!

It’s a voluntary commitment. For observation only. You’re free to go any time you choose. Talk about perfidious!

Some years ago, my wife gave me a piano for my birthday.

Got a wonderful teacher and took lessons for about 2 years. Practised at least 4 hours a day on weekdays, 8 or 9 on Sats and Suns.

After 2 years, I played as poorly as that royal personage in Amadeus.

Remember that no-talent? He was a horrible pianist, and IIRC,Salieri’s pupil. As Mozart enters, hizzonner bumbles his way through a piece that Salieri composed in his honor.

After some dialogue, Mozart is asked how he liked this little opus which he had just heard for the very first time. Whereupon Wolfie sits down at the “piano” and plays it beautifully. Still, it kinda sucked, so Mozart then played it as he would have composed it. Oh Lord.

Anyway, I finally gave up on the piano.

I owned that video (Amadeus), but it disappeared. Must have lent it. Gonna buy another. The opening scene with the 40th symphony (I think) underneath is breathtaking. In fact, I love that whole film.

I got 2 words for yah…


That is so depressing; I just started piano lessons thinking I would improve dramatically because I am so bad right now.

I really wish I hadn’t read this.

Dear j66,

I am so sorry I have saddened you. Honest.

But please, don’t go by my failure. I was around 50 and other factors were in play as well.

And hell, you might have genuine talent. Obviously, I do not.

And, my wife and her mother always asked me to play for them. They insisted I was pretty damned good, but from my viewpoint, I had to work too damned hard to learn a piece.

Again, I am deeply sorry.

I’m like ChefGuy in that I become bored quickly. There are a few exceptions tho where I have had keen interest for years. Golf is one. I have the worst swing you can imagine, but after 30 years of playing it works. I’ve shot 66, I’ve had 3 holes-in-one.

Pool is another. I could play every day for hours and not get tired of it. If there was more money in it, I would consider going pro.
But other things… I’ve played guitar for years. Listening to Led Zep I wanted to get a mandolin. I bought one from my Dad’s friend, claened it up, bought news strings, got the guy to tune it for me. Mandolins are tuned differently than giutars, so much so that everything I knew was out the window. I played around for about three days and haven’t touched it since. Same thing with the harmonica. No interest.