About a hundred years ago, the kids wanted to play grown-up by hosting Thanksgiving, or “Turkey Sacrifice Day.” They performed the most important ritual of the season and baked the bird in their brand new stove. With banging of gongs and chants of “ooh” and “aah,” the golden bird came out of the ceremonial oven and perched on the top of the range. None of the immature adherents knew how to carve the creature, so I volunteered. I made the males watch as I performed the ritual slicing. When I finished, I noticed that the iconic butter-laced broth was miraculously gone. How was I to know that the bird was cooked in a flimsy foil pan? I’d inadvertently pierced the bottom of the pan with the razor sharp dagger. The holiday nectar ran out and into the nether regions of the stove. Thank goodness, the fireproof insulation soaked it all up. For years after that, the house smelled of turkey every time a cake or pizza was cooked. We missed the gravy that year, but the stove smelled wonderful for a long time. Yes family, you’re welcome.
Everyone in the family remembers that Thanksgiving. Nobody remembers the 10,000 times everything went well. The holiday being imperfect endeared it to everyone. In a way, they trusted the event, because they would have done better than I did. Being imperfect is more perfect.
It’s like my sage council to all of my grandsons. I taught each of them to be imperfect when they go out in public. ZZ Top says girls are crazy about a sharpdressed man, but they prefer to fix a man who’s half a bubble off of plumb. I taught the boys to mess up their collars before they go out. No lady can resist fixing the twisted collar. The imperfection of the collar makes the man seem more perfect and the guy gets attention. Even sprinkling flour on a dark shirt makes girls brush it off and love the man for it. Once again, you’re welcome.
I used this science when I was selling my car. Many tightwads, like me, nit-pick every little thing to get the price reduced. I made the car seem imperfect to seem more trustworthy. While the guy was looking at the car, I distressed over the fact the lighter didn’t work well and the trunk latch stuck. The buyer thought I was an idiot, so he trusted me. Since he trusted stupid me, he trusted the car and bought it. Imperfection made the car more perfect. Want more proof? One word: Martha Stewart. Okay, that’s two words. Martha is perfect. She brags about being a “maniacal perfectionist.” She’s like the Evil Suzie Homemaker. Everything she does on TV, she proclaims “perfect” and people hate her for it. She gets on her PBS show and whips up a holiday dish nobody ever heard of, in 97 steps nobody can remember and without putting a hair out of place. People despise and don’t trust her because she’s too perfect. Her lawyer didn’t even like her enough to keep her out a jail. If she pulled that “little miss perfect” routine in jail, she probably got smacked around by someone imperfect. We all think “that’s a good thing.”
It explains why we love Joanna Gaines on HGTV. She seems perfect at first because she builds a house while raising five kids and making homemade jelly in a kitchen she designed using old pallets and Walmart bags. Then we meet her goofy husband Chip who probably can’t tell shiplap from Shinola. We think, “she’s so together, but she married this idiot.” That makes her imperfect and we love her for it.
My grandson Xavier gets it. He’s always been the smartest person in the room and people are suspicious of that. He acts less perfect by being a slacker. In high school, he could have had the best grades in the building with half of his brain tied behind his back. He wouldn’t have been trusted or liked, so he worked hard at being a slacker that barely passed. Others dug that, and he was instantly more likeable. I expect some of his peers found him pretty groovy and perfect.
So what’s the moral of the story? It’s kind of a Zen thing. Perfect isn’t perfect. Imperfection is perfect. Forget Martha and mess your collar up while you ruin the stove. Work at just barely getting by, and you’ll get way ahead. You could also say that being remembered for flaws is much better than being a forgotten perfectionist. You’re welcome.