>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

April 10, 2008

Nathan: They tell me that perfection is unattainable, so tell me perfect, is it true?
Random Chick:
That is the sweetest, most full of shit pick-up line I have ever heard.
Nathan: Thanks… umm, right?
Random Chick:

I think I know what I’m doing.

That’s how I can sum up pretty much everything that I’ve done pretty much every day since I’ve had days to sum up and stuff to do.

I think I know what I’m doing.

I’m not sure I know what I’m doing. And sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing. But I’m doing something and I think I usually know what it is.

Right now I’m writing. Nothing makes you feel more like you don’t know what you’re doing than writing does. No matter how many times I do it, using the same 26 letters, ten numbers, and ten pieces of punctuation as the rest of the English speaking world just to make a point or tell a story always humbles me. But I think I know what I’m doing so I trudge the sludge of my own mind and hope for the best.

“Excluding possibilities means denying improvement, which is infinitely possible.”

And the more I do it, the better I get.

Perfect practice makes for perfect play, but even half-assed stupid practices will improve your play if you play and practice enough.

I’m going somewhere with this. I promise.

You see, perfection is, for the most part, impossible and unattainable. Few things can be perfect. A diamond can be flawless but never perfect. A snowflake, a wife, a steak, a baseball season, they can all be awesome, the best so far, bonzo goodness, but they can never be perfect. A basketball or football team could have an undefeated season, but none of it is truly perfect or they’d have never let the opposing team score. A pitcher can throw a perfect game but a perfect game is just a way of saying that no one got on base. But a truly perfect game (for a pitcher) would involve no batter actually touching a pitch with his bat. That won’t happen. We strive to be perfect but we never will be. Because, as Dad used to say, “There’s always somebody bigger, better, meaner and stronger. And if they ain’t around yet, they will be soon.”

And that is kind of a sad fact of life, but only in the respect that our ultimate goals and dreams are out of our range. In another way, it is good that perfection is unattainable, because the lack of attainable perfection allows us, as a people, the right to keep trying to be better at everything that we do, knowing that we can always improve.

We can always be better writers, athletes, drinkers and lovers. We can always strive to amend our talents and abridge our shortcomings. We have that right forever. And in this way, we’ll always be able to surprise ourselves.

After I realized that perfection was unattainable, I thought on and off for about five years about what that really means when applied to everyday life, and I realized something.

I realized that at no time do I actually know what I’m doing. Because if I truly knew any one thing, I would be better than it. And hell, I don’t even know myself that well. And that’s why I have a new mantra: I think I know what I’m doing.

From now on, when people ask me if I know how to play pool, play the harmonica, write, fuck, drink, etc., I'll just answer with, “I think I know how.”

Because really that’s all we have in life.

We have a chance to think and feel things. And sometimes we either feel or think as if we know. But we don’t know that we know, because knowing excludes other possibilities. And excluding possibilities means denying improvement, which is infinitely possible because perfection is unattainable.

At least, that’s what I think I know.

So what does this mangle of confusing sentences I called a column really mean? “What’s the moral?” you ask. “Where’s my fucking closure, DeGraaf?” you ask rather rudely.

It’s nowhere to be found.

And that, in my humble opinion, is a part of what makes life awesome. Life’s not ours to dance through with thoughts of ownership, but to revere and experience, to taste and feel, until there’s nothing left.

And then, when there is nothing left, well then maybe we’ll really, actually know something.

But I doubt it.

Here’s to hoping I can think I know that all of you are out there in internet land thinking you know you feel great.

But again, I doubt it.