Certifying the Negatives

blank certificateWe live in a strange society. People are running around getting certified for all sorts of things to prove to other people that they can do them. There are certificates of achievement, completion, graduation… and so on, and so forth.

How old are you? Oh, you have a birth certificate – which you only get once. You get death certificates once as well, but typically only posthumously.

You can get certified on all sorts of things. People will ask you, “So, are you any good at this?”, and you’re prepared: Just whip out a certificate on whatever this is.

But we don’t certify the bad things, such as:

  • Can’t keep a secret.
  • ‘Great personality’.
  • Being over 5 feet tall.
  • Being under 5 feet tall.
  • Exceptional Procrastination.

Think about it. Someone asks you to do something: You tell them you’re procrastinating. By the Laws of Certification, they should then wonder if you have the capacity to procrastinate effectively. Can you? Why don’t you?

“It’s clear you never took the time to get a certificate of procrastination, which tells me…”

The point is, we use certificates for things that we think are positives, but what did those certificates cost you? Did a Certificate of Perfect Attention cost you a Certificate in being a happy and healthy human being?

When you really think about it, certificates are silly things. Either you did something or you didn’t, either you are good at something or you’re not.

And don’t even get me started on degrees…

The point is, if we’re going to certify some things, maybe we should be certifying everything else.

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