We yearn for it. We strive for it. Its desire drives and fuels the craving and hunger. We stumble and fall. Rise up and fall again. Yet, like fools searching for gold, we march on in pursuit. Longing for a bite of the forbidden apple.
In the sad sense of tragedy found in realism, rarely, will we ever find it.
What is so elusive that litters the highway with failure? What can have such a demonic hold on a person’s soul?
Not winning the lottery, though, I suppose you have a better chance of purchasing the winning ticket as crazy as that may sound.
I’m not talking about any sort of utopian inspired happiness. Or an altered state caused by drugs.
I’m talking about the dream for perfection.
So many strive for it. You’re even given your own label – a perfectionist.
Society praises perfection. We admire it. We applaud it.
Perfection is sought for many reasons. Maybe you’re fueled by the desire to make yourself worthy to someone significant in your life. Like a child, searching for praise from a parent. Maybe the glory is what drives you forward. A desire to be held in immortality. Perhaps, the dogged pursuit to be the best picks you up ever time you fall.
As invisible and elusive as perfection may seem to be, it can be found.
In the sporting world, very few have reached the pinnacles of perfection. The image of Yogi Berra leaping into the arms of Don Larsen in Game 5 of the World Series at the completion of Larsen’s perfect game in which the Yankee pitcher defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 in 1956. We remember Mary Lou Retton’s two perfect 10’s during the 1984 Olympics to earn Olympic Gold.
Every time an NFL team reaches the midpoint of a season undefeated, comparisons to the 1972 Miami Dolphins dominates the sports world. The Dolphins are the only team to ever finish an entire season, including a Super Bowl victory, undefeated. Once again, earlier this year we watched as the Green Bay Packers victory total continued to soar. We began to cheer. Could this team reach perfection? Like the old ABC Wild World of Sports slogan – “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” – the Packers failed.
We search for the perfect job. We dream of a wife, two kids and the white picket fence. We strive to be the best we can be. We want the perfect body, the perfect smile.
Our military works to create the perfect, ultimate warrior to send into battle.
As students, we strived for the perfect report card – straight A’s. Well, some of you strived for it, many of you even achieved the perfection. For others, myself included, it never happened.
We all know a diamond is a girls best friend, right? When picking out that diamond for the special someone in your life what are you actually searching for? A diamond with no flaws, correct?
In the literary world, I always felt Harper Lee wrote the perfect American novel – To Kill A Mockingbird. Was the greatness of her début novel – the level of perfection rarely read or written – a reason that Lee never wrote another book again? She captured lightning in a bottle once, what are the odds of duplicating that level of greatness?
Writing can be a frustrating and a self-damaging career choice. We strive for the perfect word. The perfect sentence. The perfect paragraph. The perfect story. We write, edit, re-write, edit, re-write, edit and end up deleting it all. Is there no wonder why such great writers in our history were also renowned drinkers?
Yet, down the stream we all swim, battling against the currents. Blind or naïve to the overwhelming odds of failure. Striving for something that considering the odds would label us foolish. Leaving Las Vegas with cash in your pocket even has better odds than reaching perfection. Something I’ve never been able to do on any visit to Sin City.
As a child, I used to sit in a field of green, searching for a mythical four-leaf clover. I picked and pulled and searched. After numerous attempts and only finding the standard three-leaved type I came to the conclusion there is no such thing as a four-leaf clover. The luck it would bring was not to come my way.
Can your dreams come true? Can perfection every be reached? Are we fools for setting our goals too high? Is striving for perfection nothing more than a game of roulette or searching for a four-leaved clover?