Comedy of Errors

I love quotations.  I have them on post-it notes throughout my home, highlighted and underlined in books and yelling back at me from the home page of my computer.  I like being surrounded by reminders of the attitudes I want to have. 

Have Courage & Be Kind

is one of my favorites by the lovely glass shoe wearing Cinderella and simply sums up who I want to be; someone who chooses the brave route over the easy one and sets aside the need to be right in order to show compassion.  On a whim I decided I would like to hang this quote in my bathroom… should be an easy, quick and inexpensive undertaking, right?

It began with finding an artist on Etsy who was two steps ahead of me and had already designed the quotation to my liking. After getting the confirmation from him that he could change the sizing of the quotation to fit my oddly shaped IKEA frame, I purchased it and waited with joyful anticipation for my wonderful resized version to arrive. But the moment the seller had my money… crickets. Well, at least on his end, I was emailing frequently like a desperate ignored girlfriend reminding him of my existence.

In the meantime, this determined redhead attempted to play with the original file to make it work. But after five different printing attempts, even Staples couldn’t force this file to be what I needed it to be.  And even more frustrating, was that after these experimental printings, I noticed the file was incomplete and cutting off all the edges of the words so I couldn’t even print the original sizing right. Gadzooks!

I’m sad to say that this was just the beginning of the comedy of errors that has been this ‘simple’ project;

  • next, I found another artist with even nicer writing and ordered the quote from her.

  • when I attempted to pick up this printed version, I ended up at the wrong Staples because my computer switched my ‘home store’ when I ordered it; so I had to go across the city to hunt it down.

  • somehow, no clue how or when, chipped the frame… thankfully nothing so dramatic a black Sharpie couldn’t fix!

  • it printed in the wrong size and now also the wrong colour (in no universe is charcoal gray a substitute for black!)

  • this new artist happily resized and changed the colour… for another fee of course.

  • printed it off again… a dramatic serif was cut off.

  • another print… the elastics Staples used on it crushed it.

  • the artist had to resend me the file… she was of course baffled because ‘this never happens’.

And I will be honest, I was so embarrassed that I needed to take so many trips to Staples that I started going out of my way to sent it to random locations I was driving through. I hit most of the Hamilton locations, another in Burlington, one in St. Catharines, and then I was set to pick up, what I was hoping was the final copy in Belleville. It wasn’t until I cut it perfectly to fit the frame, positioned the command strips with painstaking precision on the back, did I turn it over to see the fold lines up the side of the print.  Seriously?  It acquired folds from the walk from my car up to my home? I struggled to get it out of the frame past the perfectly placed command strips and attempted to iron it flat… but alas, once a folded paper, always a folded paper.

It has taken me years to fully appreciate the phrase, ‘done is better than perfect’, and I kept asking myself after each ridiculous setback if I was at that point yet… but nope, I continue to push on.  There sits in my local Staples the 11th and hopefully glorious final printing of this Shakespearean comedic experience. How did a simple $15 idea become such a hulk of a job?

As I attempt to see the lesson behind the madness, I can’t help but wonder if there’s actually a lesson to be had at all. Maybe when it’s hanging on my wall, each time I look at it I will see it as a testament to my determination, strength and as proof that I’m worth the struggle.  It’s often hard to know when determination ends and stubbornness begins, and when to let go instead of pushing through, but I’m grateful for these bizarre experiences that show me how far I have come in my ability to see that line more clearly.

Shakespeare believes that “every why hath a wherefore”, that there is an explanation for everything, but in this case, I’m simply embracing the comedy of errors for what it is, yet another adventure.