Screwing up in Style: Why Perfect Doesn’t Always Win
Ok, yes, I admit it: I have a little problem with perfectionism. In fact, sometimes it gets so overwhelming that I realize I’m berating myself for not having a better handle on my perfectionism problem.
The good news is that my determination for things to always work pushes my creative problem solving skills to their max. Truth be told, it’s the creative problem solving that keeps me working in metal. I can bring a drawing or a collage back from the edge of the trash can, but the feeling of doing so is not nearly as satisfying as the mechanical workings of turning a half melted mess into something that looks, if not perfect, very professional.
Yesterday I pulled a chased ring shank out of the pickle and grabbed my optivisor to see what the gunk was all over 1/4 of the band. It wasn’t gunk; it was tiny reticulation where my delicate chased scrollwork pattern had been hours before.
This is what happens when I spend more hours answering email that I spend at the bench and what happens when all my bench time has centered around etching and forging. It’s also what happens when I go from soldering with the last whisper of acetylene to a new tank that did not need the pressure regulator up quite so high. I threw the shank on a jeweler’s anvil and grabbed my tiny line tool and Fretz 417 hammer and began putting the scrollwork back. I didn’t berate my mistake, but I may have sighed at how long some things take me. Stay tuned for the finished ring later.
Today I was painting my newly upgraded master bathroom. – It was add on 80’s with a prefab fiberglass shower and is now gorgeous art deco tile and plaster. – Ella Fiztgerald was blaring out my bluetooth speaker, reminding me that some of the best ever screw ups go on to win big awards.
When Ella covered Mac the Knife at a live concert in Berlin in 1960 she forgot the words. I don’t mean she switched a line or flubbed a word. I mean she forgot several whole verses. At full voice. Accompanied by her big band.
But when you’re Ella, you don’t panic, you don’t freeze, you don’t whine on your therapist’s sofa about how you screwed up your career. No, you improvise. For 3 full minutes!!!
Oh Bobby Darin and Louis Armstrong
They made a record, oh but they did
And now Ella, Ella, and her fellas
We’re making a wreck, what a wreck of Mack the Knife…
The recording won her not one but two grammies: one for Best Vocal Performance, Female and one for Best Vocal Performance Album, Female. Now that’s screwing up in style…
Listen to the fabulous recording in full here. Note what she says when she introduces the song. 😉