A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.” You can hear the original audio version here.
Hello, I’m Ross Murray, beloved columnist, salad dressing connoisseur and author of the best-selling self-help book Don’t Kid Yourself, Mister. Today, I’d like to talk about a condition that afflicts 2 out of 6 Canadians and in some areas as many as 1 in 3. I’m talking about… creativity.
Creativity can strike anyone, anytime, though probably not before 10 a.m. Creative people are just like you and me, except with weirder clothes and occasionally dubious hygiene. Creativity is a highly distracting affliction, but, with regular treatment and flattery, most creative people lead full, productive lives… Let me try that again: most creative people lead full lives.
There are two types of creativity. Some people are born creative, although early creativity remains difficult to diagnose. Many parents become convinced that their child is creative based on adorable fridge drawings and elaborate theatrical productions involving stuffed animals, but thankfully most children grow up to be only mildly creative or not very creative at all. Often creativity doesn’t manifest itself until late adolescence when the child displays signs of wanting to go to art school. Nothing can prepare a parent for that kind of shock.
Unlike genetic creativity, many people develop type 2 creativity later in life due to a deficiency in career fulfillment and Vitamin B. In recent years, type 2 creativity has reached pandemic proportions due to the proliferation of self-published semi-autobiographical novels. Every year, Type 2 creativity costs the economy roughly $2 billion in lost productivity, mostly due to people posting artistically filtered Instagram photos of their lunch during office hours.
Thankfully, Type 2 creativity can be managed through painting classes, amateur theatre and writing groups, although these measures can do only so much to control the creative type’s craving for constant validation.
Here are some of the warning signs of creativity:
- Feelings of euphoria quickly followed by feelings of utter worthlessness
- Feelings of being misunderstood and unappreciated
- An irrational belief that you could really make a go of it if you only had more time
- Dancing like there’s nobody watching even when everyone is watching… and pointing…
- Complete disinterest in organized sports
- Complete inability in organized sports
- Overwhelming feelings of ennui when you realize that nothing rhymes with “poetry”
- Using “ennui” in everyday sentences
- Difficulty concentrating on a single idea without being… barracudas in sombreros would look awesome
- Ostentatious use of colours and
Fortunately, there is hope. While in the past, a person living with creativity would be ostracized and helplessly dependent on Canada Council grants, today, thanks to research and greater awareness that they’re only half-listening to you, creative people are fully integrated into society – except in Alberta.
In addition, many schools are combatting creativity with “One Child, One iPhone” programs.
You can do your part to fight creativity by continuing to vote Conservative and by wearing on your lapel the plaid ribbon inscribed with a short Tibetan prayer and a small bell on the end. Talk to your loved ones. Help them realize that there is no shame in creativity, or money for that matter. Working together, we can bring creativity out of the closet because, frankly, we need room in there for all those oil paintings.