Friday, August 29, 2008


The S.O. and I like watching King of the Hill (older episodes). Frankly, we think it's one of the best shows on TV. I could write a tome trying to explain why but suffice it to say, it just matches our sensibilities. We believe in keeping things simple. We believe in loving what you do whether it's selling cupcakes, "propane and propane accessories" or what have you. We also believe that no one and nothing is perfect.

Thing is when you open a business you open yourself and your ideas up to scrutiny. As I've learned, you have to be confident in what you do or you probably won't get too far. Sure, you have to be open to new ideas and criticism and suggestions, but you also have to know your limits. Know that adding a little sprinkle of gold flakes on top of a cupcake can be beautiful. But deep frying a cupcake just might be gilding the lily — not that it probably isn't downright delicious to many people. Point is, sometimes you have to know when to leave things as they are. Learn to find perfection in imperfection. This, I've learned, is wabi-sabi.

According to wikipedia, "wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The phrase comes from the two words wabi and sabi. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete." And this brings me back to King of the Hill, one of the best TV shows ever. Did I say that already?

In one episode, Bobby Hill, a young man who knows himself and what he wants — to be a comedian and marry his Laotian neighbor Connie and not much else — wants to grow roses. Once his father, the mite-uptight and straightforward Hank, realizes that rose growing can be a competitive (read: masculine) sport, he agrees to let his son grow them and even gets involved himself...

BOBBY: This one's pretty.

HANK: Not if we go by the book. According to the checklist, this one's perfect.

BOBBY: But I like how mine's a little off-center. It's got wabi-sabi.

HANK: You can't win an argument by making up words.

BOBBY: Wabi-sabi is an Eastern tradition, Dad. It's celebrating the beauty in what's flawed. Like the crack in the Liberty Bell or the mole on Cindy Crawford's face.

HANK: The Liberty Bell is great. But come on, if it was in a competition with a bunch of other bells without cracks, it would lose.

BOBBY: But sometimes it's the imperfections that make you love something even more. So what if this rose is a little short, a little wide? It's got more personality than those other ones.

HANK: Uh-huh. But we're out to win.

We're out to win, too. Who isn't? Being human is wanting to win. No one wants to fail or be left behind, right? But we also want to enjoy the journey. We don't want to get too caught up in the details. In making everything perfect.

Okay. Wait. Let me clarify.

I'm much more of an overanalyzing nitpicker than my S.O. And if it were all up to me, I'd probably run myself and everyone around me (him) ragged trying to make sure every little detail was 100% perfect. Trust me, that's not always a good thing.

But he believes in wabi-sabi. In seeing the beauty in things that are a little off-center. A little to the left or right. A little bigger or smaller than others would say they should be. Because of him, I'm learning that that's okay.

So the next time you stop by and notice something that's not 100% perfect, like our trusty old truck itself, I hope you will appreciate its essential Wabi-Sabi-ness. We do.