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Napoleon on skills

You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

—Napoleon Dynamite

A quote from the ever profound Napoleon will always catch your attention, huh? He’s like a guru now with his wealth of everyday applicable aphorisms. He has convinced me that learning skills may be the coolest thing ever. However, since I didn’t get into that martial arts class, I won’t be able to learn Rex Kwan Do. Thus I’ve had to settle for skills that, while not so much impressive, I can still devote hour upon hours to.

Take pen spinning for example. Sure when you start, you’re just a weak, bullied little kid with a dream and you stumble upon www.pentrix.com. But when you’re a pen wielding champion, there will be no doubt that, although people will continue to beat you up, your fingers know their way around a writing utensil. Remember, learning skills is not for the weak of heart. It could take you months to learn the Thumbaround Normal trick or the Fingerpass Normal, and you want to have years of practice before even approaching The Infinity. Don’t forget that the point of learning skills is so that it takes a long time and afterward you can put together a Rocky-esque montage replete with the Karate Kid theme song. Oh yeah, also so you can gloat unnecessarily and undeservingly.

Another sweet skill is making noises with your mouth in such a way that it makes a beat. I never realized how cool beatboxing was until I saw it done by Rahzel on video. I never realized how uncool it was until I saw myself spitting gurgly throaty sounds un-rhythmically in the mirror. But that didn’t change my conviction that forgoing human contact to practice in isolation for hours on end would turn me into the stereotype-breaking boy wonder whose Indian mouth produced things other than over-enunciated SAT words. This hasn’t happened, but it could. Hassidic reggae artist Matisyahu used his two skills (singing and a deep passion for the Torah) to be the first man of the Jewish faith to throw down some funky, skillful beats. Skills aren’t restricted by race but by dedication. So skip that class and dedicate yourself to something real, because skills are for real.

In addition, I hear knowing your constellations is really great with the ladies. I haven’t actually tried this one but Copernicus and my physics teacher both attest to its success rate. Astronomy can get kind of tricky, what with your materials being millions of light-years away. Also, your Fisher-Price telescope may not cut it for magnifying power. Edmund Haley says your entry level quality telescope will run you about $24,000,000.57, which you can purchase at your local national defense contractor. Once you’re equipped, start out with some easy stuff to find, like the sun, before you want to move on to harder stuff like Galaxy 94A39C83W, a.k.a. Andromeda. You’re not ultimate champion until you can point out God in the sky.

Learning skills is the new “dressing up like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind and pretending your schizo.” Some skills may have no real purpose but they are extremely applicable, while most of the dumb stuff you learn in school may have a purpose in some remote context but isn’t applicable at all. On the streets of Durham, knowing the chain rule isn’t going to stop you from getting shot. However, being able to point out the Big Dipper will show those guys you’re hard and get you some respect. A bevy of different skills could garner you a gangster membership card. The benefits that come with aforementioned membership (medical, dental, the laminated membership card) alone are worth the endless hours required to master skills. We should all try to be a little more like Napoleon. Napoleon Dynamite DVD on sale in stores everywhere.

Ashwin Bhirud is a Trinity sophomore. His column appears every other Wednesday.

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