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Perfection - The Myth

"I love porcupines. (Starts shouting) And if you can’t appreciate that then you shouldn’t insult my respect for these noble creatures!"

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"(Deep voice) And in case any of you wondered why grass looks like grass…"

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"(Screeching) HIIIII!! Welcome to the crazed world of MT…"

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"Now before you press that button on your remote again, let me tell you about…"

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"If you are watching this, then you have won yourself a million dollars…"

 

Adam was fed up! Television sucked! It was beside the point that he spent 25 hours a day (I’m not lying) watching that "terrible contraption". Of course, that was when he wasn’t jumping around in his room attempting to create earthquakes in Paraguay. Unfortunately the only earthquakes that were caused never even left the floor of his room, let alone reach Paraguay.

Summer holidays were boring. Normally there was school and assignments and lots of homework (the thought of homework brought a smile to his face). And there was always Physics! Adam sighed. He felt like deducing his own "Theory of Relativity". He would throw Einstein’s theory into the background and be recognised as the genius that he was.

The only thing that stopped Adam from going on and creating his own "Theory of relativity" was that he spent 25 hours a day watching television and had an hour less the next day to spend. This resulted in a complete distortion of the time field around Adam. That is why he was able to sit and actually understand Physics.

Now you must be imagining that Adam was either extremely fat or extremely "geeky" or both. Contrary to that, Adam was fine example of the human anatomy. He had a physique that made the girls swoon. He had a voice that sounded wiser than that of Sean Connery. And he had glasses that would probably make Mount Everest look small. Just kidding. He did have glasses, but they were a stylish oval, with a light gold frame. Something like what the movie stars wore when they wore glasses instead of contact lenses.

The only problem with Adam was that … he didn’t have a problem. His very problem was that he was perfect, too perfect for his own good. He was so perfect that no one ever understood a word he said (he spoke perfect English). Of course, he was so perfect that he made everyone understand that which they could not understand. Adam was SO perfect that he could afford to spend his days switching between watching television and attempting to create earthquakes in Paraguay.

He felt like moving. And so, he moved a perfect move. He arose from the couch with sheer perfection, walked to the door with the same perfection and so on. You get the picture. He made his way to the door, got his jacket on the way (with a perfect swing of the arm to pull it off the coat hanger) and walked out.

 

The sun was shining. The sky was clear. There wasn’t a single cloud up there. It was perfect! That is how Adam liked it. There was a rumour that he had built a weather satellite and that he had sent it into space to create perfect weather wherever he was. The reason for the rumour was that, whenever he stayed at home in winter, the sun shone every day. And when he left the city, even for a second, it would snow. And then the snow would disappear once he arrived. It was weird (Not as weird as the occasional shower of parking tickets at the television stations).

He noticed that his not-so-perfect friends were playing a game of basketball. He felt like making them feel like dirt again. So he walked over. They saw him and immediately kneeled to accept his superiority over them. He gestured for them to rise and they did. He gestured for the basketball and they gave it to him. He took the basketball, and threw it in the air. It went in the basket. They all applauded the master.

"You should be in the NBA, Adam", said one of the not-so-perfect spectators.

"Not the NBA! That’s for wimps! You should be in the UBA!" another commented.

"What’s the UBA?"

"The Universe Basketball Association"

"Adam would probably be too good for those players as well"

"Yeah, Adam. You’re the best"

"How good can he be?"

Everyone turned to see the voice of the evil one, the one who defied the great Adam. Adam was so shocked he almost fainted. But he was so perfect that he couldn’t faint. He would have faked the perfect faint but wanted to know who the non-believer was.

And the non-believer was … the new girl. She had just moved in a few days ago. The rumour among the kids was that she had come from Transylvania because they saw that she had a pet bat. It was believed that the bat would creep up on unsuspecting kids at night and steal their Physics homework. Adam had of course, propagated the rumour.

The evil one spoke "Hi! I’m Susan. I just moved in a few days ago from Canada"

The not-so-perfect spectators started murmuring among themselves. The evil one had spoken and they had to make a decision. The decision that was made was groundbreaking one. It was one that would be remembered for all of history. They decided to let Adam, the perfect one, decide. So they all looked at him in anticipation of true perfection.

Adam, realising that he was the center of attention, as usual, prepared to stun the evil one with his perfect English. He wanted to make her feel inferior from the start and make it easier on her. He opened his lips and said " " (No one knew what his perfect English meant. He actually aimed to say "Hello! How are you?")

Everyone stood amazed. He had spoken. They were all about to start bowing to him when he gestured them not to, in perfect anticipation of their actions. They remained amazed and filled with awe.

"I’m fine, thanks. And what about you?" Susan spoke.

Adam gulped (An oh-so perfect gulp)! He couldn’t believe it. No one could believe it. The evil one had understood what Adam had said. No one ever understood Adam when he spoke perfectly. Until now! Something was wrong. Some of the not-so-perfect spectators even fainted. Their idol had been challenged. The pressure was intense.

"Are you mentally incapacitated or do you always take this long to reply to a question?" Susan extended the challenge.

More not-so-perfect spectators fainted. "She" had officially challenged the perfect one. For one fleeting second, a cloud nearly appeared in the sky, but didn’t. Adam had to take control again. This time he decided to speak in a perfect not-so-perfect tone so that all his fans would understand his words "I’m sorry, but I had a bit of a problem understanding your English. It’s different. And I am fine, thank you"

The spectators were relieved. Their hero had spoken, answered the challenge, and sent back a challenge for the evil one. He was great once more. They all smiled (those who hadn’t fainted from the tension).

"If you can’t understand my English, then you must be dumb"

Adam had a look on his face. When Susan spoke, the look remained. He tried to move. He couldn’t. He was being verbally assaulted by a girl, who was not-so-perfect and from out of town. This was very wrong. He had to do something. Unfortunately, all that his perfect mind was thinking about was the nearly-perfect grey eyes of his adversary.

"Just forget about the English for a second. Are you really a good basketball player" she asked.

Adam smiled "Watch this". He turned such that his back was facing the basket and threw the ball into the air. It went straight into the basket.

The spectators who hadn’t fainted yet applauded the master. He acknowledged their applause and looked with a wry grin at the challenger.

"Do you ever play against anyone? Like in a team, one on one? Any sort of competition?" Susan queried.

"Of course not! These simpletons are too inferior to challenge me. If they play against me they just suffer from inferiority complexes. I save them the trouble" (Every conscious spectator nodded in agreement)

"I won’t get an inferiority complex"

"Is that a … challenge??"

"Yup! Throw the ball to me"

Everyone but one spectator fainted. The one who didn’t faint went running back home to call the police.

 

In the events that followed, disaster struck. The events were so gross that they cannot be described by mere words. But they can be described, nonetheless. Susan took the ball and walked past Adam and actually slam-dunked the ball through the basket. In the meanwhile, Adam was just standing waiting for Susan to get past him by the time he realised that she had scored. He accounted it to beginners luck.

Adam took possession. He dribbled, he ran, he flew, and he made a beautiful lay-up, without a basketball. Susan had taken the ball while he dribbled. As he turned around to accept applause, he saw the ball, not on the ground, but in the hands of the enemy. This meant war!

And in the war that followed the score that the game ended at, because Adam perfectly faked fainting, 101-0, in favour of Susan. The master had been vanquished. It was a good thing that no one was around to see it happen. Everyone was on the ground, unconscious.

As Adam opened his eyes, he saw himself staring into the perfect eyes of his foe. She shook her head "You aren’t bad. You just need a little practice … and a lot of luck! It’s been nice playing with you. I’ve got to go now. It’s time for me to feed my bat. And you have to work on your fake fainting. It looks terrible"

She left and Adam awoke into the realisation that he had been … defeated. The perfect one had lost. A cloud had popped up in the sky! He was furious, but too scared of Susan to do anything about his anger. He jumped up and just about then, all those who had fainted came back to life. They saw Adam, and no Susan. They rejoiced. The jumped around. Their master had rid them of the evil one. Now they could be happy inferior idiots once again. Life was sweet.

Adam could have told them the truth that he lost the game. But to him the truth was that he had won the game. He didn’t follow the normal rules of time, so why should he follow the rules of truth either. He just accepted the praise and performed a few show-dunks and then retired to the comfort of his room, to prepare a torture device for Susan. He would have his revenge. The only problem was that he didn’t know how.

Susan was going to pay for defeating him in that game of basketball. But then it struck him that if he took revenge for the loss, then everyone would know that he lost in the first place. And then, in their warped vision of the truth, he would be considered a liar. Hence, he wouldn’t be perfect and he would be … not-so-perfect. The very thought sent shivers down Adam’s perfect spine.

He had to devise a plan, a perfect plan without any doubt, which would … do something. The aim of the perfect plan was not something Adam had thought of yet, but knew that he couldn’t afford to waste any of his time thinking of what the aim of the plan would be.

 

Adam spent the night think of a plan and plotting away. The sun left at the time known to man as night and came back in time for the next morning. Adam was ready! He had spent the night planning and now the plan would come into effect. There was only one minor obstacle, though, that … he hadn’t decided yet what the aim of the plan was. But it was a perfect plan. Everyone would agree with that, except for Susan.

 

It was high noon. The sun was high in the sky. There wasn’t a single cloud. The weather was perfect (as usual). The not-so-perfect friends of Adam were playing basketball again. Susan hadn’t emerged yet. Adam realised that this was his chance to execute the plan. He played a perfect drum roll and attracted the attention of every not-so-perfect friend and a few other people. Then he emerged … wearing a ballet outfit, a girl’s ballet outfit.

Everyone wondered what the perfect one was planning to do. He bowed to everyone and they all applauded. Then he executed a perfect jump and performed a beautiful ballet with sheer mastery. When he was finished, everyone clapped wildly and went crazy. Some people even asked for an encore.

Adam smiled. His plan was a success. That’s when it dawned upon him that he didn’t know the aim of the plan. He also realised that he had just performed a ballet, for no obvious reason. And that is when the final straw struck him: he was wearing a girl’s ballet dress. He smiled and retreated back to his home. The plan had succeeded, but he had failed.

 

Adam returned to the outside world (wearing normal clothes this time) to join the basketball playing compatriots. They all applauded his ballet performance again and then offered him the basketball. He rejected the idea. They were stunned. The very master of basketball was now not playing anymore. They, of course, had no idea that his resentment had rooted from his loss the previous day. But what they thought was that if the master had shunned basketball; they must shun it too.

So they all stopped playing basketball and looked at the master for some sign. He smiled; they smiled. He made a thoughtful expression; they made thoughtful expressions. He wrote the theory of relativity in the air; they had no idea what the theory of relativity was.

In the meantime, Susan appeared. She watched the master and the puppets play and wondered if she had landed up at a city of mentally unsound people. She was scared. She just picked up the basketball and dunked it. The puppets sopped. They all looked at Susan make the perfect dunk. They couldn’t believe it (because they were all unconscious the last time she did it). They thought that Adam was the only perfect "dunker" around. They all looked to Adam, yet again, for some inspiration.

This time Adam was lost. He was lost in the eyes of the person who was showing the world that he wasn’t perfect. He hated being lost in those eyes, but it was uncontrollable. He couldn’t help it. So he picked up the basketball, while looking into the eyes and jumped in the air. He achieved the perfect dunk, outside the basket. And on the way down, hit the ground with a perfect "thud!" and went unconscious.

When he regained consciousness, and some sense, he was staring into those eyes again. And then he noticed that the eyes of his other not-so-perfect friends were trying to stare into his eyes as well. He jumped up, knocked a few heads and fell down again. He jumped up again (this time everyone moved out of his way) and was on his feet again.

"What happened Adam? Are you okay? Were you practising a perfect dunk to show us?" his fans asked.

Adam barely nodded his head while watching Susan. She knew he was lost. She knew that he had the least idea where the basket was when he jumped. But she kept quiet. She needed something to blackmail him with, if the need ever arose.

"So do you want a proper game of basketball to show us your skills in action?" Susan asked.

Everyone started nodding their heads violently. They looked as if they were at a Metallica concert. They wanted to see the great one thrash the evil one this time. And they even promised that they wouldn’t faint.

This was a predicament for Adam. With such strong crowd support he couldn’t fake fainting. He wasn’t even confident about that skill of his anymore. He would have to play and everyone would know that he wasn’t perfect. He would become one of them, not their better. The day for him to step down had arrived.

Susan had the ball and was ready to play. Adam slowly stepped up and accepted the ball from Susan for the first play. He breathed one deep breath. Then he dribbled, ran, spun, dribbled, ran, spun, jumped, faked, spun, and finally shot a simple shot. It went in! She had let him through. Every one of his fans applauded like madmen.

What followed was a complete and utter thrashing that Adam dealt to Susan by a score of 102-0. The fans were pleased and so was Adam. He had vanquished his vanquisher, but it didn’t feel completely right. Something was missing in the victory. But he couldn’t care less when he saw that a friend had brought his Mom’s cookies for him. A conscience was one thing and cookies were another. So he joined in the revelry. And Susan quietly slipped away.

 

Later in the evening, Adam was alone on his front porch thinking about the basketball game. He realised something. He didn’t win. Susan lost. She let him play every move he wanted. She didn’t make an attempt to stop him. And when she had the ball, she always made a "careless mistake" and he got the ball.

In the middle of this thought, he heard a voice "Hi! How’s the victor?"

He looked up. It was Susan. She sat down next to him and smiled.

"Why did you lose the game today?" Adam asked.

"I didn’t think you would figure out. None of your fans did"

"But why did you lose?"

"If you lost, they would lose their leader. They look up to you and if they saw you lose to me, they would lose someone to look up to. Besides, I guessed that if I lost, you’d help me make friends around here. It’s hard being the new girl in town"

"Thanks a lot. I’ll help. That’ll be a snap for me. You’re a good loser"

"Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment. It was a perfect loss"

"Maybe it was"

"I’ve got to go and feed my bat. It gets cranky if it doesn’t get its meals on time. I’ll see you later"

"Ok. Bye"

"And, by the way, I lost to you today cause I like you. You’re funny"

Susan kissed Adam on the cheek and walked away. Adam stopped breathing. He had been "pecked" on the cheek by the very person who had thrashed him in basketball the day before. Things were moving out of his control. Clouds had appeared in the sky. They stretched over like long strips in the crimson heavens. It was beautiful. Adam wasn’t perfect and he knew it. But when he saw the pink clouds against the heavens that evening, it struck him that perfection was a myth that he didn’t want to be a part of anymore. He could stand being not-so-perfect. Life was surprising that way. And he wouldn’t have to live those tiring 25-hour days anymore.