Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Com eto

I am not a perfectionist. Nevertheless, I sometimes become obsessed with imperfections. I sometimes worry about things that absolutely do not matter. I know that they don't matter, I know that I'm not perfect...I accept that I am a flawed human being, just like every last one of us. But darn it, when the obsession hits, it hits hard.

As a family present, I put together this, uh, thing, uh, that I don't want to say too much about because it's a surprise. Suffice it to say that it involved typing text, which I proofread about a hundred times before it was printed. The, uh, secret thing came in the mail yesterday, and it has a typo in it that is currently DRIVING ME CRAZY! I have looked it over a dozen times, and though it is beautiful in every other way, I cannot get past this mistake. There is a line that has the words "come to" in it, and I put the space in the wrong says "com eto", which sounds to me like Latin for "caused by eating" or "that chicken". Why, why, why did I not see this before I paid for this printing job???

Because I am imperfect, and so are you...that's the only thing that makes me feel better right now. My solace is that we are a club with 6 billion members. When I was in graduate school, my professor told me to let my thesis go and get it printed...stop obsessing and accept that there is at least one big mistake in it and probably many little ones. I remember thinking, "What? A mistake? Where? Show me so I can fix it! Please, for the love of God, help me find it so I can fix it before it goes to print!" That document is preserved forever in the MSU library, and it's (guess what) not perfect. My guess is that nobody will ever know...who reads these things, anyway? I think my mislabeled graph and poor use of semi-colons are safely hidden for now. When some poor wildlife grad student decides he has to read it for reference, let him laugh. He'll find his own mistakes soon enough.

I'm thinking of including a sticky note with the family present that says, "I know, I know. I was tired. I'm pregnant. Com eto myl ife andy ouw ill seeth at Iamju stlikey ou."


margi said...

When I was taking Diabetes Ed and meeting with a dietician/nurse to go over my plan of attack/lifestyle modifications, one of the first things that she told me was that I needed to take every dictionary I own and rip out the page that has "perfect" defined on it. Perfect does not exist, yet the pursuit of it causes stress (which raises your blood sugar, did you know that?). I'm quite happy being a slob, but I still fixate on things that could, or should, be "better". I wonder if this means I should rip that page from my dictionaries, too...

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