good, better, best

One of my jobs is painting houses. I love it, and I buy a lot of paint brushes.  I had a favorite for many years, it was purple (go figure?!) made by the Purdy company, which makes exceptionally high quality brushes, and a  local lumber company in my area had a manager who would always put some purple brushes aside for me when he unpacked a new order.  He often reminded me that girl painters who liked purple paint brushes were not all that common.  He even once called my cell phone when he got an order of 100-foot extension cords and one of them was purple 😉 but I digress…Now that Purdy no longer makes these purple brushes, I have no particular devotion to one brush or another & so I now shop at Home Depot quite a bit and have found that their own store brand of brushes are categorized as ‘Good, Better, and Best.’  When I first noticed this rating system, I was using a primer  for water stains that, unless you keep denatured alcohol in your truck, you’ll never get it out of the brush and therefore need disposable brushes when you use it, so I bought the cheapest brush they had, which was labeled in the class of “good” and as you might surmise, it was total shite! The bristles came right out of the brush with every stroke.  The handle was oddly shaped and did not feel good in my hand and it was totally disposable, not ‘good’ in any way at all,  and I thought to myself, what use is describing an item as “good” if it really is shit?  Would it not be better to describe an item as “totally disposable” or “crap” so that a person would not be confused or misled by the rating?  To me, good/better/best, is a rating system that should be functional.  Sort of like a voice in your head narrating, “this one is barely tolerable, this one is pretty decent, and this one is actually something you will like and keep.”  …BUT in reality, at Home Depot, with their own brand of brushes, “good” is really not very good at all.  The label says that it is “good,” and somebody rated it as such, but to me, it is FAR from good at all.

You might be wondering how this applies in any way to our 21 STEPS…well, STEP 18 is somewhat a recognition of the rating system at Home Depot of their own brand of paint brushes…good-better-best…and how some think about or “rate” people.  Is the BMW driving executive with the magnificent house and amazingly organized wife and two smart and athletic children who attend private school, better than the chain-smoking plumber who seldom pays his electric bill on time and spends much of his paycheck at the bar before midnight on Fridays?  Is the fancy purse carrying Louboutin pump wearing accountant with the time share in the Keys, better than the black girl with three different colored kids buying Cocoa Pebbles with food stamps in front of you at the grocery store?  Some of you readers might think yes, because you are so swayed by what you think you know about them, and what you appear to be seeing, and what you’ve believed all your life…their jobs, or lack thereof, their words and actions, what they wear, their houses or which unit in a housing project, their kids, their cars, whatever…we live in a world filled with judgments and people who judge, and I have to think, what difference does it make what Home Depot thinks about the quality of their brushes, when I find their rating system to be terribly flawed, and are we not this way when we judge and rate others, terribly flawed?

That one person thinks they can categorize another, just boggles my mind, much like somebody thinks the “good” rating on those crappy brushes is an acceptable description.  STEP 18 is kind of like Home Depot’s rating system.  AND makes me think…if somebody who manufactures these brushes can label the brush as “good” and I think it is terrible, then is it not sort of the same when somebody labels someone as a good, when I think they are a total shit of a person, or I think somebody is fabulous and other people think, not so much?  Sure, his BMW is always clean and his suits are from Savile Row and not the Men’s Warehouse, but he’s been diddling his secretary for the last year and his wife has no clue and people at his office feel pity for her when she talks about “my husband.”  Sure, her handbag is beautiful and only seen in high-gloss three-page ads in Vanity Fair and not K-Mart flyers in the Sunday paper, but she pads her tax return every year with receipts that are really NOT deductions and has not spoken to her daughter in years over a long forgotten argument.

How about nobody rate anybody?  How about the only person we judge, or rate, or categorize, is our very own self?  How about believing that nobody is better than anybody else, no matter what you might think, or have been raised and molded to believe, and the only person we ever think we are better than, is the person we were yesterday, or last month, or four years ago.  How about giving STEP 18 a try, and not worry about the rating system we seem to have here in our country on earth among our fellow humans, it’s terribly flawed anyway…I know, I bought the brushes…

step18

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