Picking the Brain: Maybe some things never were meant to be finished

Pierceall column

You know what the greatest thing is about being really good at your job? You get to do it enough for five people. That’s suuuuuuuch a great feeling …

We’ve all been in that kind of a situation, the kind that reminds you of some cheesy action flick where the townspeople are telling you, “Oh (insert name here)! You’re the only hope to save the world from the big bad evil guy! At the same time, you have to be interesting (and attractive) enough to hold our attention and remain in our favor.”

Yeah. Good bloody luck with that.

I’ve been in a similar predicament lately. Work is piling up to the point where I can’t clear it all out in one day, so I have to leave some for tomorrow. That means an even taller pile the next day. Many of us are stuck clearing out the proverbial piles of you-know-what that roll downhill to us simply because we’re good with a shovel.

These next few paragraphs will sound like I totally lost my train of thought and went off the rails on some completely unrelated tangent. Trust me. It will all come together in the end. Don’t leave.

I recently read an article about Martin Luther King Jr. and how his memorial in Washington D.C. is still unfinished. The article said this is due to disputes with the sculptor and the main contracting company not having enough insurance to complete needed modifications.

The article says that, in the years since construction halted, this has led to a mixture of sentiments toward the memorial from communities across the country. Some folks say it isn’t right for this memorial to remain incomplete while others in the area are completed. Others say it looks fine the way it is. I can see where maybe both can kind of be right at the same time.

There’s always that natural feeling of satisfaction when we see something fully done. We feel it when we peel that plastic cover off of an new smartphone screen for the first time or when we see tiles in a design that match up absolutely perfectly (I get goosebumps just picturing it).

We can feel it when we see people get all the credit or blame for what they do. In this case, we could feel it when a statue memorializing a major historical figure is finished in a way that does the individual justice. When people see something left undone, some feel the need to do whatever is possible to complete it.

A philosophical side of us can see deeper meanings in seemingly mundane everyday things (that broken printer reminds me of the folly of man). It’s that side that allows us to look for reasons why things are the way they are. Some link it to faith. Some just call it reflection. In this case, maybe it means the statue never was supposed to be finished.

Some jobs are never meant to be finished. It infuriates me when I’m at work, and I know the never-ending game of catch-up will always be just that. There’s little I can do to change it.

That statue should rightfully be completed to properly honor the work done by King and his devotion to peace and equality. However, perhaps it’s unfinished because King’s work to make the world a better place will never be finished.

When we accomplish something that makes life better for one person or place, we find two more problems to fix somewhere else. We fix those, and we find three more.

Many of us are working hard every day to make our little corner of the world better and happier. We’re getting more challenges to meet to keep that goal in mind. We keep clearing our piles of proverbial you-know-what every day, simply because we’re good with a shovel.

I’m still not looking forward to my pile when I clock in tomorrow. It has to be taller than me at this point.

TC Pierceall is a lifelong Hannibal resident, writer and member of the local music community. He graduated from Quincy University in winter 2015 where he studied journalism. TC lives in Hannibal with his cat, Chloe.

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