Practically Perfect in Every Way…..

By the time the wind has blown the weather vane around
I’ll show you if I can
No matter what the circumstance for one thing I’m renowned
My character is spit spot spic and span
I’m practically perfect in every way….

I have a special spot in my heart for Mary Poppins and would love a tape measure like hers.


Where to you measure up?
Where to you measure up?

Quite sure I’d fall between Stubborn & Suspicious and Prone to Giggling, not good at putting things away. I am both in equal parts.  Assuming perfect means “as good as it could possibly be, with no room for improvement” I whole-heartedly embrace the Perfection is Not the Goal idea. In that sense,  perfect is elusive as we’re in constant flux, getting better and improving in some ways and becoming worse at others over time. This is even more apparent to me with an aging body. Even if I could regain many of the qualities I had as a child or young woman, who I am now appreciates everything all the more.

Still, there were these ideals of perfection I remember from childhood.

Nadia Comaneci


Much was made of the first ever perfect 10 in Womens Gymnastics.
Much was made of the first ever perfect 10 in Womens Gymnastics.

I remember this well (I rooted for Olga Korbut, however) and I was in gymnastics class at the time.  The goal was to get some exercise, have fun, and be out of my mother’s hair on Saturday mornings.  Neither I nor my parents had any expectation that I would compete, and it wasn’t long before gymnastics were replaced by other interests.
Another “10”

Bo Derek

Bo Derek in "10"
Bo Derek in “10”

I never looked like this — never been that thin, or had a graceful long neck.  Ms. Derek’s character being a “10” was somewhat tongue in cheek, but the image quickly became iconic.


From a fashion perspective, I think there is much to be said for remaining a work in progress. Coco Chanel famously advised getting all dressed and accessorized,
but then removing one thing. Did she think that perfect was a bit over-done? Did she agree, as I do, that motion, flexibility and potential are equally important;
that almost finished can seem more alive and vibrant than completely finished? I’m more drawn to Impressionist art than I am to realistic representations. It’s
something about the motion, depth and suggestion that comes from the not-quite-perfect images. I do think I take Coco’s advice too far in that I find myself leaving
something out, often unintentionally. It’s only after-the-fact when i see pictures that I realized how one MORE accessory might have pulled everything together.

Last month — you saw my middle-aged self modeling bathing suits in un-retouched photos. How could perfection be the goal if I’m starting with a clearly imperfect
body? It’s a long way from perfect, to be sure, particularly if we accept that perfect means it couldn’t possibly be better. However, there’s another way to define Perfect.  “Great,
with a boost” as Darlene used it in her intro is a good one.  In that sense it could be synonymous with “this suits me fine” and that, my friends, is a worthy goal indeed.

And a coda…

OK, so there’s an Alabama song (# 1 in 1982) by the name of “Close Enough to Perfect” that became my earworm when Darlene first suggested the theme “The Goal is not Perfection” for July.   If ever there were a perfect lyric:   Don’t you worry about my woman / Or what you think she ought to be.

If I were still a Radio Station DJ, I’d send that song out to the NYTIMES on behalf of Serena.