Throughout my life I have aimed for perfection in whatever I do. I frankly know of no other mode of conduct. It’s an indisputable blessing! But in spite of my perseverance and unremitting constancy, often I only get 99% there. Minor obstruction pertinaciously contaminates the entirety. Shamefully much of the direction is nothing more than fruitless obsession; that is, the so-called articulation of perfection is but an intrusion upon my mind, a manufactured hindrance to reality for some error-free though unidentified purpose. Yet while perfection is predominantly impossible for whatever reason (either empirically, logically or philosophically) there are certain axiomatic expressions and conveniences of thought and behaviour which invite or promote the application.
If for example one’s eyes are examined by an ophthalmologist you will only get a treatment (if needed) that is 99% assured or less. The same applies to haircuts, manis and pedis. Fresh groceries are never perfect. And a car wash is right out! In fact in Nature the greater dependability is that there will be something which inhibits the state of perfection. My hairdresser recently observed that even one’s hair grows differently on one side of the head or the other. And ears are often radically different. My eyes are distinctly different (one is noticeably angular).
The practice of law however afforded me a vehicle for the promulgation of logical perfection. Most often the serendipity arose in those models that hadn’t involved human beings at the outset. For example, the practice of real estate law was a haven of deterrents to the goal of perfection. Most frequently real estate law was an investigation after-the-fact; that is, a scrutiny of underlying title devolution (sometimes over multiple generations, even as far back as the Crown Patent) and an examination of the overt physical usages (such as hedges, fences and other human interruptions of the purity of geometric boundaries determined by the precision of surveying records). Drawing a trust agreement on the other hand enabled far greater predictability probably because many of the clauses turned on inescapable truths such as survival, death or progeny. The same could normally be said of testamentary dispositions unless frustrated by the human element, involving perhaps illegitimacy and other appropriations which confuse the intended meaning of words. Who is a child? Who is a spouse?
The containment of perfection recently took a marked turn in the real estate world in the Province of Ontario with the adoption of a statutory mandate to legitimise an otherwise debatable title through the written endorsement of two independent lawyers on either side of a transaction. Upon its institution I was initially wary because it predicted in my opinion the trifling consent of one or more unwarranted assertions by unscrupulous lawyers; basically, if they both agreed to agree there would be no legal action. In my experience however the convenience never overcame the critical issue if any. It does nonetheless illustrate that to the less perspicacious practitioner the road was open for perfection notwithstanding any technical violation. In fact I recall having it urged upon me by another lawyer to overlook an alleged picayune detail in the interest of the greater ambition to conclude the transaction. I did not. We succeeded to complete the transaction after “perfection “ of the interluding corruption. But the event reminded me that not everyone is glued to exactitude (even though it might have been arguable that the result would have been the same in either case).
That’s the thing about perfection; there are challenges to the path to it diluted by the pragmatism of result. The entire purpose of perfection is put at stake. And its appeal begins to wane commensurately with the irrefragable effluxion of time. As one grows older the focus upon perfection moves from dry logic and science into the more agreeable drawing room category of prescription called balance. For one thing the commercial ambition utterly evaporates. But the winning ingredient is that time is short. Suddenly niceties of any description are mere hurdles, no longer achievements.
And then there’s the business of avoiding taking oneself too seriously. Quite honestly were I to perform an assessment of my current troubles in life, I am certain I would be bound to confess that the majority if not all derive from my own creation. The other feature of aging is a revival of the elemental characteristics of life; namely, food, shelter, sleep and companionship. To my everlasting ignominy, by allowing impatience and selfishness to rule my being I have unwittingly administered to myself at my own peril the rude combat of perfection, itself perverted by some distorted and relentless fawning.
I’m beginning to think it’s time I settled for 99% instead!