I’m suspicious of characters who appear to be perfectly good, or entirely bad. This applies to both fictional characters and those I love and hang out with in real life. I appreciate a good scar or a deep wound that festers, leaks poison at the most inopportune time. Yeah, yeah, I know, we all strive toward perfection, but come on! What a ridiculous cartoon of dream THAT is. I’m not saying we shouldn’t reach for the light. I’m just pointing out that, for me, the darkness holds some lessons too.
This attitude gets me in trouble as an author. Mostly people are okay with me writing about my own many imperfections, but are offended when I point out their own teeny, tiny little flaw or injury. For me, this is a big misunderstanding. I don’t expect or want perfect people in my life. Don’t even believe in the existence of these mythical beasts. Think of it this way. I have no use for rainbow unicorns, but view a good, hardy mule as a fine animal.
Did I just call you a jackass? Maybe. Here’s a family story to illustrate my point.
Dad had one brother, Donnie. When Dad was about twelve and Donnie was four, on a trip through the countryside one fine spring day, Dad spotted two jackasses leaning over a rail fence. Always one for a good joke at his brother’s expense, Dad rolled down his window, stuck out his hand and waved.
“Hey there, Donnie,” he called to the donkeys, “Who’s that out there in the field with you, your brother?”
So, yes, I love imperfection and hey, whose that out there in the field with you?