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March 24, 2017

23 of 40

“The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good.”

Is there a bigger understatement?

It’s my guess that the majority of all action, reaction and personal risk boils down to missing the mark. It’s defined for us: “winning”, “good-better-best” or simply “I don’t care.” We latch onto a verdict and are called to confront and overturn it, or are defeated by it.

I am too fat – per a dress size, a BMI number or the reflection in Wal-Mart’s plate glass mirror – and I react.

I did not win the award, I readjust my sights, modify design/application and reapply.

I get dizzy, unstably dizzy, and I go to the hospital.

All the while so many other things are perfect, or functionally so. I am healthy (“Perfectly” so, according experts, armed with pictures, stats and Greco-Roman nomenclature). I am loved, I am doing what I have to do.

But I, and you, are imperfect.

There is no logic to perfection, because the instant the mark that confers it is obtained, there is always a much higher mark, further on. Yet I, and you, want it – perhaps not enough to lose the 10 extra pounds or effort 10 more awards – but we want it enuf that it kinda wrecks the here and now.

The idea of Zen, of balance, of perfectly inner and outer truth or beauty or balance is simply not possible for me. A tiny number of us can dance in seemingly perfect steps or think in ways or move an object with seemingly effortless ease: not so me.

My life, perhaps yours, is submerged in “getting there”. I am pretty much never arrived, finished, or satisfied. I can be exhausted, the physical realities stop progress for a while, even the rest of necessity ends the ability to focus on the things you want to do – nonetheless, it’s about not being done.

Imperfection is not a disease or even shameful. It’s normal, chronic and everlasting for some of us. I guess it’s not healthy, I guess it’s not Zen: so be it.

Old age is learning when close enuf is good enuf, for now – because the lack of satisfaction is not imperfection, it’s just not good enough.

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