In Defense of Half-Assing It

Maybe those of us who just kinda muddle through are happier?

Adeline Dimond


The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Program

I don’t even quite know what I want to say here, so the decision to write about the vague theory clanking around in my head is peak half-assedness. But as they say, the medium is the message.

Looking back, I’m beginning to realize I may have half-assed it my entire life. I’m not saying I didn’t try — I did — just not very hard. This strategy led to a few close calls: there was a D in high school calculus, but I had already been admitted to a college that didn’t seem to care. I have a vague memory of some sort of remedial math situation in eighth grade, which consisted of a woman with chunky jewelry getting frustrated with me because I couldn’t understand how to calculate probabilities. (Little did she know that probability = the importance of it happening ˗ how much you want it to happen × how much control you have over the situation).

But all in all, things have worked out okay. Are there things I want that I don’t have? Yes. But I have friends who never half-ass anything, and there’s a lot of stuff they don’t have either. This fact hits them harder than it hits me, and that, in a nutshell is the argument for half-assing it: you’re less disappointed when things don’t work out, and thrilled when they do.

Take my friends Valentina (I wrote about her recent heartbreak here, and referred to her as Allison. She hates that fake name, and directed me to refer to her as Valentina moving forward — peak perfectionism) and June. They are both in better shape, have more money than I do, and less credit card debt. They also both freak out when things don’t go their way, whereas I kinda shrug and move on.

Example: recently Valentina took a hot model to see Dave Chappelle at the Hollywood Bowl, where she had box seats. After sharing one too many bottles of wine, Valentina felt woozy, and put her head on the hot model’s shoulder for a few minutes while she drifted off. The hot model made sure Valentina got home safely and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek goodnight.

Sounds great, right? And yet Valentina called me enraged the next day: Why hadn’t he tried to really kiss her? Was she not hot enough? Did she drink too much and turn him off? I listened, completely…