Raise your hand if you have ever evened a cake or pie. You know, after having a slice of cake or piece of pie, we contemplate seconds. As part of that contemplation we examine the cake or pie and notice it may have some rough edges. We might think to ourselves, “I would really like seconds, but it may ruin my diet, spike cholesterol or make me appear piggish and so on.” I know I look longingly at the cake, for example, noticing it doesn’t look quite right. I then might think, “Hmmm. If I just even some of those rough edges, I’ll get that little extra taste that I’m craving. That tiny bit of evening will not really add calories or clog my arteries.” I then pick up the tools of the trade, a knife and fork, to begin the very meticulous, punctilious, precise art of evening.
The next step is to decide with which tool to begin. I start with the knife determining it will make a cleaner, less noticeable reconfiguration of the cake. I trimmed off a small area that was sticking out. That should do it. The extricated sliver hit the spot. As I was about to pack up my utensils, I suddenly notice the cake was a tad unbalanced. Oh no. I couldn’t leave an imperfect, asymmetrical cake.
I had no choice. I began the process all over again and again and again. No doubt, you know what happened. All those nips and tucks, so to speak, equaled a second piece or more. I’m thinking more. Evening is one of those things that while you know how it is going to end, we will continue to do it anyway.
This reminds me of an incident in a restaurant. True story. A friend was working in the kitchen. He was responsible for cutting the daily carrot cake. One day when the restaurant was especially busy, he was asked to go out and help with bussing. The dirty dishes kept piling up and no S. Finally, someone went back into the kitchen to find out why he hadn’t come out. There was S, with a knife and ruler measuring the pieces of carrot cake so that every slice was exactly the same size. Nothing like having an employee with a little OCD in his or her resume.
There are two morals to this story:
One: We ought to embrace wabi sabi, the Japanese philosophy of aesthetics which sees perfection in the imperfect.
Two: People, like dessert, may be a little uneven or have some jagged edges. It’s that unevenness and jaggedy edges that make us interesting, unique, wonderful, fun and loveable.
Comments are welcomed.