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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Argue pro- or con- the following Zen aphorism:

Sometimes 80% is enough.

7 Comments:

Blogger Emma Goldman said...

This is where the word "unique" provides a useful teaching tool. I hate (hate hate hate) when people modify that word. As with "pregnant," it signifies a binary state of being. So, for those of you who can follow my tired brain today, for some things, 80% isn't enough, because the "yes" or "1" part of the binariness means that it must be all the way. For other things, though, there can be a scale. We may not want to utilize that scale--for example, while having 80% of Americans with good health insurance would be an improvement over our current situation, it would still be insufficient, at least in my opinion. But if 80% of the people who walk in the door of your establishment (a) buy something, and/or (or perhaps especially) (b) keep coming back and buying things, then you probably have a very successful business. If you're a student in pastry chef school and you're just learning how to make things, then 80% is probably okay, at least some of the time, and especially the first time you make something. If you're a surgical student and 80% of your patients make it through surgery successfully, you might want to consider another occupation.

3:02 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

It's easy to be judgemental. I can beat myself up in an attempt to be perfect, and when I'm trying so hard---but not always succeeding--it's easy to become miffed with others who make messy inconveniences with a job poorly done.

Still, I always tip about 20%. Last week, we had dinner with G's aunt, who argued vehemently that he shouldn't give 20% for the poor service we'd received. On the car ride home, mulling over her arguments and dreaming up counter-arguments I couldn't get in during dinner, I hit upon something good. I've decided I believe that, at any given time, most people are honestly doing the best that they can, and that the best you can do is...well, it's the best that can be done.

Sometimes 80% is enough.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Except I don't like letting people off the hook that easily. I'm willing to say that someone might be having a bad day today, but if I see a pattern of half-assedness, then I'm more apt to be harsh. I see my stepson make half-assed stabs at stuff, especially when he thinks he's not going to be any good at it. I finally told him that I don't care how good he is, and that, in fact, he will be better at some things and bad at others, and that you can't tell the first time you try. But I also told him that it's very important to me that he try his best. If he tries his best and sucks at it, no problem at all.

I do see your point, but I'm occasionally willing to draw a line in the sand.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

80% is more than enough. At least until they give me a pretty substantial raise, they'll be lucky if I give them 80.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

The only way to argue it is to provide two examples in which it is true, thus fulfilling the "sometimes" requirement:

Cleaning my apartment 80% is not harmful, and it allows me more time and energy to devote to things and people I love. Plus it might spare a couple spiders.

Eating well 80% of the time is not only enough, but necessary. My mental--and, by extension, physical--health would suffer if I were to avoid consuming any junk food.

5:52 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Emma, I dig where you're coming from. For me, though, I'm saner when I realize I can't control other people, only how I interact with them.

And anyway, you mention your stepson doing things "half-assed". Half-assed is only 50%, which is way less than 80%.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Indeed, I try to be at least 80%-assed in all my endeavors.

3:28 PM  

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