Friday, June 27, 2014

On perfection.

My father helped install my air conditioner this year.  This meant that a 3 hour feat of setting the unit on the windowsill, throwing a piece of plywood to cover the hole above, and then stuffing any empty spaces with socks and towels became a 3 week venture of measurements, a planning and design phase, resentment from both parties, extreme politeness, and - finally - implementation.   What a good handful of people would probably refer to as "overkill."

My brother and I spoke about the difficulties of asking dad for a favour, and neither of us are all that keen on it.  It just took me much longer to realize than him.  My brother and I are adults now; when we ask dad for help with a number of things, we're simply asking for an additional pair of hands.  Dad, on the other hand, has this tendency to hear our requests in our teenage voices (long deceased, although their ghosts visit on some nights of heavy drinking and reminiscing), and pull the entire project on his own shoulders.  It's sweet (and mildly fascinating), but we're at the point where it often includes some complaining about the situation.

The air conditioner is in, and my father has built this nice little window box that fits snugly above.  I appreciate the effort my dad put in, but the amount of stress he experiences and drags me into is quite the price to pay.  The amount of planning in particular was far more than necessary.

Now, I've told you that story, so I could tell you this one.  The AC adventure of 2014 is a perfect example of Wallace over-analysis and perfectionism, often mislabeled "Wallace Genius."  A lot of my laziness is inspired by the frozen feeling that comes along with perfection.  In the case of myself, it translates roughly to:

  • Why lose weight if I'm not going to have the perfect body?  You're just shining the silverware on the Titanic, chubby*.
  • If I write a horror story, it should scare the shit out of Bloch/Benchley (Peter, not Robert)/LeFanu.
  • If I write humour, it should cause fits of laughter in Wodehouse/Benchley (Robert, not Peter)/Sedaris (both Amy and David)**. 
  • All satire should top Brooker/Swift/Bierce.
  • All erotica should inspire mad wanking upon reading the first sentence.
  • And other, somehow grosser, examples.

No wonder I get so little done.  Analysis-paralysis.

I watched The World's End tonight.  It was enjoyable, but something about it missed the mark for me. Prior to this, I might have said the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost combination was infallible.  I did laugh out loud at a few moments, so it's not a complete bust, not by a long shot.  Maybe I'm being a little harsh on a movie that I would have been really proud to be a part of.  At any rate, the knowledge that even Simon Pegg can slip up*** should be enough of a reason to keep trying.

Here's a clip from one of my favourite ventures of his, Big Train:


Kevin Eldon kills me in that clip, holding up the two pieces of paper stuck together.  That's just funny.  Stellar team, that cast.  Although the show does have some weak points, this clip is near to perfection.


*As an aside, this particular attitude has been left on the curb for the past couple of months, and I've lost 14 pounds.  It's slow moving, but I already feel better.
**I'll make the joke before you can: this blog is clearly the exception.
***I am full out ignoring the existence of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People"

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