Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ain't No Shame... The Art of Good Enough

It's the start of the semester at schools and colleges across the country.  In my neck of the woods (a.k.a. Syracuse University), that means twelve days straight of welcoming, registering, and advising new students, returning students, and more than a few parents.  Aside from the fact that we do it for twelve days without a break, it's great.

Yesterday, we had the new student picnic.  Noshing on burgers and hot dogs with close to four hundred students can be a lot of fun.  It can also yield a ridiculous amount of leftover brownies.  At this moment, there are four trays in my office that look just like this:

Sure, they aren't the best brownies I've ever eaten.  But they are moist and boast a thick layer of fudgy frosting.  I feel a little guilty eating them, though, like they're somehow beneath me.  Like eating a Little Debbie cake in the car, then getting out of the car to dispose of the wrapper so no one you know sees it.

A colleague and I have had many a conversation about that which is "good enough."  Often, this refers to letters, presentations, or other documents that serve their purpose just fine as is.  Yes, there is room for improvement, but given the time and energy required for said improvements, the call is made: they are good enough.  And they are.  And that's okay.

As a baker and lover of most things baked, I know that there are times when I, too, need to embrace this mantra.  Cookies that aren't perfectly round but taste phenomenal?  Good enough.  Brownies from the school catering department?  Most definitely good enough.  On day seven of twelve here in the Whitman School of Management, they're the breakfast of champions, the afternoon pick-me-up, and most definitely the easiest way to...

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