I am an imperfectionist.
I do not work at it. It just happens. Imperfections like the day I picked up my 14- year-old daughter from school and let her write “Loser” on my forehead with a black Sharpie. Please, don’t ask why I allowed her to do so. It’s bad enough recalling how I soon forgot she had written it, and went about my day running errands all over town and wondering later on why so many people had given me strange looks. And the entire time I’m looking back at them thinking, “What’s your problem!?” That’s just one of many imperfections that go by noticed and leave me no option but to simply laugh and admit I am only a thousand miles short of Genius status.
Here’s an example of a genius in the making:
When I left my job as a UPS driver and began my career as a humorous illustrator, our house soon found itself overwhelmed with art materials. More than just paintings, but stuff like: storage boxes, shipping boxes, frames, large sheets of cardboard, matt board, bags of packing peanuts, reference books, prints, boxes of note cards, postcards, and brochures to name a few. You no longer hung your shirt on a hanger. Instead, you hung it over the art storage box that protruded from the closet. Need a broom? No problem. Just work your way around those bags of bubble wrap on top of the dog food in the pantry. Whatever it is you need, it’s there somewhere. Keep looking. You’ll find it…someday.
Needless to say, it was time to build a separate storage building to house the art supplies. Like a disastrous hemorrhaging injury needing attention sooner than later, we quickly hired a builder, and within one month had stopped the bleeding of art materials flowing throughout our house. And what a relief it was when it was all finished. We and our house were able to breathe again. You could actually walk ten consecutive steps without falling on your face from tripping over a box of acrylic paints. Life was back to normal.
One winter day, I went out to the art storage room to pack a print order for shipping. As I approached the locked door, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my ring of keys. Pretty simple process: pick out the correct key and unlock the door. Kind of stuff three-year-olds do. Well, perhaps I just lost my touch or maybe my mind, but my nimble fingers flipped past the keys and stopped on my car’s security remote device. With my thumb and index finger, I clutched the remote, aimed it at the locked art storage door, and hit the device’s unlock button.
Genius. Einstein. This is the stuff greatness is built upon!
It was bad enough that I actually pressed the button. But what made it worse—what made it so obvious that I might want to take up hibernation—was the fact that because the door didn’t open, I repeated the action. That’s right—pressed that button twice. My subconscious was completely in control (by the way, that’s the beauty of having a subconscious—it’s like another person you know that is always there to pass the blame to). It would only be right that since the door didn’t open the first time, that Einstein should click the Honda Automobile Remote Security Device to open a wooden door leading into a storage room.
If you think I didn’t look twenty to thirty times around me to see if anyone had witnessed this debacle, then you need to go out and try something similar. Go ahead. I challenge you to experience the thrill of feeling like a self-taught idiot. Go to your local grocery store with a Honda Automobile Remote Security Device (actually remotes for Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet–any make will do just fine) and try to lock the dessert freezer door after you get your ice cream. Trust me, it won’t take long until you feel my pain.
“Sir,” the grocery worker will say, “Sir, I’m sorry, but none of our freezers will respond to that device. Sir, are you suffering from low blood sugar? Sir, why don’t you come with me and take it easy in our break room. Sir?…” That’s the moment you look at him and say, “Oh, my bad, I thought this was my car.” And really, that’s about as good as the moment will ever get. Go ahead, close your eyes and click your heels as many times as you want, but you won’t be going back to Kansas. Nope, this is the grocery store you frequent every week. This is real time. This is your shining moment.
So there I stood, looking around for anyone who may have seen me outside my storage room, and soon realizing I had two options: Kick myself and chalk it up as another embarrassing moment to quickly forget. Or, gleefully suck it up and laugh at yet another imperfection.
I chose the latter, and have never regretted it since. Why do you think I’m confessing this story? For public humiliation? To prove that tall people do in fact have their heads in the clouds? (I’m 6’ 4”) Of course, not. I tell it to show how much fun it is to relive life’s not-so-finer moments.
Look, going to the art room and unlocking the wooden door with a key–boring. Using the Honda Automobile Remote Security Device—priceless!
Copyright Ros Hill 2015