Let It Be Good

On a vacation a few years ago we stumbled across a bar that truly kicked ass. It was outdoors, on gently-sloped property behind a restaurant, a rectangular bar overlooking a small river. Towering shade trees provided respite from the sun. The drinks were moderately priced, the service impeccable.

For what it’s worth, the bar was ergonomically perfect, too. Just the right depth to the tabletop (not too skinny, not too wide), at a comfortable height, and with foot rests positioned just where they needed to be. You may, or may not, understand exactly how all of that matters. Some of us happen to be "eat at the bar" people. It matters.

We spent more than two hours there, enjoying appetizers and cocktails, and getting to know some of the locals. When we left we said, This was so cool. Let’s come back tomorrow night.

We did. And it was utterly disappointing.

The food wasn’t as good, the new bartender was snobby, and the overall atmosphere was flat. We paid the tab and left after forty minutes. Walking back to the car, both of us quiet as we absorbed the let-down, I finally uttered the words that summed up the two extreme experiences: Why didn’t we just let it be good?

How many times do we take something that’s good and try to unnaturally force it to either replicate itself or to somehow be even better? We should just let it be good.

Recently I posted a photo on social media, a shot of my son’s T-shirt. It featured a computer floppy disk, a VHS tape, and a cassette, all holding hands. The caption read, Never Forget.

Okay, that’s just funny. It’s succinct, silly, and sentimental. I had to post it, to share the humor.

And then came the comments, including:

Why doesn’t it have a vinyl album?
What about an 8-track tape? I don’t see an 8-track.
Hey, why no CDs? Those are old-fashioned now too, you know.

Sigh. I wanted to respond to each of these: Let it be good. Just let it be good.

Not everything has to be one-upped. Or, like my visit to the pleasant outdoor bar, not everything has to be duplicated. Sometimes we should just enjoy every ounce of an experience, let it be the good experience it was meant to be, and then move on.

Yeah, our world allows comments today (on almost everything), but we seem to think it demands comments. Or refinements. Or flat-out improvements. It doesn’t.

We take too much of the good that we get and feel some ridiculous need to embellish it. But why? Sure, sometimes it’s good fun to keep a joke rolling, but I submit that it may often be better to just absorb it and all its goddamned goodness.

For creative people, this is something of a curse, because we tend to never be satisfied with our creations. Paintings, stories, craftwork, or any other artistic endeavor - we overlook something simple and good, and long to make it spectacular. But simple and good often is spectacular, really. Sometimes much more so because of the simplicity.

Are you able to patiently see the goodness? Can you learn to appreciate it?

There are only so many antiquated pieces of technology that could’ve made that T-shirt perfect, and the number was three. Any more and it’s cluttered and suffocated.

Our lives are like the shirt. On a daily basis we’re gifted good experiences, some big, some small. The next time you’re blessed, find the point of perfect satiation and walk away. Let it be good.