Sunday, September 16, 2007

Perfectly Imperfect

Last night I attended a great party. It may have been because there was music that left me no choice but to dance. I can still hear "m m m my Sharonna" playing in my head. It may have been great because there were lots of kids who knew each other and they went arm and arm running off to play tether ball and dodge ball together, far away from where I sat sipping wine and spearing salami wedges with a toothpick. It may have been because my husband, who generally dislikes socializing with anyone but his children, actually wanted to stay for the entire party. I loved it because of the people who threw the party, the guests who attended and the generally perfect mix of late afternoon sun, a cool glass of chardonnay and just the opportunity for me to be there amongst it all.

I know I am on the right track in my life when a guy at the party tells me he's heard that there were people drinking wine at the Back to School BBQ that took place the evening before. He alerts me with an air of seriousness and doom-filled authority that this combination of alcohol meeting with lips, tongue and throat on the hallowed ground of a public school is not only illegal but a felony. He tells me this in a manner meant to alarm me into action, now that I have taken on the role of PTA president of said school, but it doesn't alarm me. First of all , I don't know who this guy is, if he is an undercover cop, a DA for the city or just a concerned citizen watching out for the welfare of children. My response to him is "well I too was drinking wine, discretely of course, from a paper bag, directly out of the bottle". How could it ever be a action punishable by incarceration to take in the sight of a hundred screaming children at the end of a very long week , a tasteful receptacle of embibment in your hand, with parental supervision galore, within walking distance from home? The guy said to me, "yeah, wouldn't it be a scandal for the PTA president to be taken away from school in handcuffs from the back to school BBQ." My reply to him (and I really mean this) was "that wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to me ". In fact, now that I think about it, it could actually be beneficial. It would release me from any future PTA positions as well as the current role of President. I am really quite comfortable looking "bad" in public. I have figured out that being imperfect is not only not fatal but it is what we are supposed to do. Look at the people like Martha Stewart. Being perceived as perfect made her an easy target and pretty much earned her a vacation in a white-collar prison. Fortunately Martha, like many of us, knows that this type of humiliation will not kill you and can actually increase your levels of compassion for others.

There is a quote by Teilhard de Chardin, " You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience". And nothing spells human more than any form of public f**k up. So today, I encourage you to make a fool out of yourself. Please try to emphasize your perceived imperfections. Do something that would normally mortify you and see what happens. Laugh it off when you are obviously wrong, say "I'm sorry" even if it wasn't your fault, please, for the sake of humanity, strive to be perfectly imperfect. You will not (ever) be alone.

No comments: