Friday, May 4, 2007

If The Shoe Fits . . .

Details are peculiar things; and, my relationship with them goes far beyond the peculiar. Details can be defined as an individual part of an item, particulars considered individually and in relation to a whole, and as a minor or inconsequential item or aspect. People who are detail oriented, which I am sometimes and only with regard to some things, are considered anal, obsessive-compulsive, perfectionists, and all-together pains in the ass. Yep, if the shoe fits . . .

Seriously, sometimes details are important and sometimes they are not. If you are making cookies and you miss one little detail like the baking soda, it is a big deal. If, on the other hand, the recipe calls for walnuts and you use pecans, probably not a big deal. If Friday is laundry day and you wait until Saturday to finish it, probably not a big deal- unless you have to wear red underwear under white pants or, no underwear at all. Then, the details surrounding laundry day are important.

Today has been a day of details for me. I have been finishing the last bit of editing on this issue of Spirit of Knitting. This is the kind of day where my penchant for being anal, obsessive, a perfectionist, and a pain in the ass definitely has its pluses. In SOK it is most important that all the pattern instructions be clear and correct. (I would prefer to say perfect, but I will settle for correct.) We don't want letters from readers that say, "Why does my sweater only have one sleeve? " Oh, did we leave out the part that says, Make 2? Sorry! Or," I tried to make that felted purse but for some reason it did not work with my Red Heart yarn!" Wool, did we forget to mention wool? You see, details are important here.

Then there are cases where I am not so sure that the details matter one iota. Yesterday Erin came home from school saying that one of the teachers who is a mover and shaker with the high school graduation exercises is terrified that Brooke is going to wear hi-top converse tennis shoes with her cap and gown to graduation. The horror! She probably will - unless someone tells her this is not acceptable. If the seniors are given a specific dress code, she will follow the rules; if left to her own devices, she will wear the red and black hi-tops with "veritas" embroidered down the back. Maybe they think that is a dirty word.

Their concern arises from the fact that she is graduating in the top twelve in her class and will have to sit on stage during the commencement exercises. As far as I know, she is number three and will not have to give a speech. (she has worked very hard not to graduate as valedictorian or salutatorian for this very reason.) But, she (and her feet) will be visible to everybody present. I am fairly convinced that footwear is not the true indicator of one's talents and abilities. Okay, maybe those people, women or men, who wear six inch stilettos are stupid! But Converse? Come on! I am fairly sure that she wore those hi-tops when she took her SAT's and scored a perfect score, when she went to class and earned her ranking in the top twelve, when she took the PSAT and scored well enough to be named a National Merit Scholar, and when she wrote her admissions essay to the University of Chicago. They seemed to have served her well in each of these instances. I don't think that wearing converse to commencement will deem her unfit to graduate. If shoes are the most significant attribute that teachers can see in their students, it becomes obvious why our education system is in so much trouble.

The thing that makes this all so funny to me is that the school does not seem to pay attention to some important details - like the correct spelling of students' names. She received several awards, with accompanying certificates, at the academic banquet earlier this week. Her name (Elliott with one "t" instead of two) was spelled incorrectly in every case. You would think after four years they could get her name right. I am sure that it will be misspelled in the graduation program and on her diploma. I guess that is OK. I picked up her graduation announcements with their calling cards and they too had her name wrong. In this case, I filled out the original order form and know that her name was spelled properly. The error can not even be blamed on illegible teen-aged penmanship.

I do believe that spelling one's name correctly is a more important detail than what shoes a person wears. Perhaps I will wear my black hi-top converse with "Peace"written all over them in different languages to graduation. Brooke gave them to me for my birthday last year. Or, maybe my lavender ones would go better with my outfit . . .

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