‘Relevant complexity’ is a theory of everything: put simply, satisfaction and joy come from the pursuit of complex, worthwhile and comparatively challenging pursuits. So once discovered, shouldn’t life be a breeze?
Sport, Art history, particle physics, the raising of children, the preparation and enjoyment of good food etc etc – all relevantly complex, and potential sources of endless satisfaction and joy. What could go wrong?
Odd jobs, that’s what. And drilling and hanging things most of all. Why? Because it’s hard to get odd jobs right. Our house walls are rubbish, I only ever get to do a thing once; so I make the maximum mistakes, and never get the chance to learn from those mistakes.
And the smallest odd job can take disproportionate time, for a deeply disappointing effect – which then looks back at you in reproach for years. Aaargh. Irrelevant complexity.
One of my worst historic botched jobs stares at me here:
In awkward shapes
Lots of screws
And hacksaw blades
Variety of fixings
Wobbling and fiddling
Scarcely blocking the sky
But every cloud has a silver lining. After three separate wasted days, on and off, up ladders, with hacksaws and at the DIY shop, I definitively gave up in a huff on that attempt at our lounge curtains.
Then a miracle intervened. My beloved took to the ladders, took up the drill and made it all hang together. Until a week later it all fell down. Odd jobs – irrelevant complexity. Unless you’re going to learn to do them properly, avoid them.
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