Sociologists like to complain about all the beautiful people that populate advertising and the media. Presenting all those "Ken and Barbie" types as role models, they say, sets an unrealistic standard for the rest of us. Home improvement shows have, in their own way, much the same effect: In their alternate universe, contractors are all pillars of Yankee virtue, project snafus are always resolved in the nick of time, and 45-degree miter joints always fit perfectly.
What a disappointment, then, when our own homes are so often far from perfect.
It’s just as well, however. Perfection is overrated — not to mention impossible — and we’d all be happier if we’d learn to settle for "near-perfect" instead. I couldn’t count the number of past clients I’ve known, for example, who suffered untold anguish over a tiny scratch in a countertop or a microscopic dent in a new hardwood floor.