The tyranny of perfection

June was a bad month to be a human.

First, we all watched with horror as Armando Galarraga’s perfect game was stolen from him, at the 27th out, by … human error.

Then we had the disallowed goal in a FIFA World Cup game that resulted in a tie between the U.S. and Slovenia.

Both errors were caused by an umpire, Jim Joyce, and a referee, Koman Coulibaly.

Now, not being a Detroit Tiger fan (and admittedly not having seen the game, just the seeming infinite replays), I was not so quick to call Mr. Joyce a boob. I saw the slow-motion replay, I saw the stop action. Both were blurry from the incredible speeds that were barely captured.

Then, I reflected on how long it takes for me to regard the diagram on the POS Terminal and swipe my credit card correctly. And I figured, If Mr. Joyce makes these split-second calls, week in and week out, without controversy, so far, then he is much more a man than I am.

But, yeah, it was to be a perfect game, and that has to hurt.

As for Mr. Coulibaly, nobody, other than FIFA officials, knows why he blew the whistle and disallowed the American goal.

So, to rid those pesky humans with all of that responsibility, there is talk of using instant replays to make decisions.

I am one of the purists who hope this never happens. Life is not a computer game where decisions are infallible.

Personally, I like second-guessing umpires and referees. If they were perfect, how much fun would that be?

I interviewed an umpire, once, and he told me that he loves baseball so much that he heckles other umpires when he is in the stands.

Yes, to throw a perfect game, a pitcher must be perfect that day. But, too, the weather needs to be perfect and the balls he throws must be perfect; and, yes, the umpire needs to be perfect. This is why the perfect game is such a revered and rare event: all of the stars must align.

Besides, if Mr. Joyce made the perfect call that day, we would not have been able to witness the very human apology that he gave to Mr. Galarraga. For me, it re-affirmed that there are good people out there who will always do the right thing, just because it is the right thing to do.

And, c’mon, you have to love that smile that Armando Galarraga gave immediately after hearing he wasn’t “in time”. He knew he was there before the runner, but he accepted it gracefully. That was a better display of the finest of human qualities than watching an end-zone dance.

To be human … is to be imperfect.

I heard someone gush about Mona Lisa, which they saw at the Louvre. “You could see the brush strokes … Leonardo da Vinci’s brush strokes!”

Excuse me, but if Mr. da Vinci was so perfect, you wouldn’t see the brush strokes.

But, do you see? … it is also true, that, to be imperfect is to be human; and to be human, is beautiful.

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