There are two kinds of people. . . How many times have you heard that phrase, followed by either a pithy aphorism or a gross oversimplification?
But wouldnt it be nice if humanity really could be easily divided into two neat categories? Givers and takers, haves and have-nots, winners and losers, dog people and cat people . . . Usually, the arbitrary either-or which follows tells you more about the person choosing the classifications than about the general population she claims to be describing.
Nevertheless, and with fear and trembling, I propose that there really are two kinds of people: those who reconcile their bank statements to the penny each and every month, and those who are just grateful if the overdraft notice shows up within forty-eight hours of payday.
Without tipping my hand as to which category Im in, let me just say that Im all for accuracy, as long as it doesnt take on a life of its own. You know what I mean: the sort of uncompromising perfectionism that causes certain types to stay up until three AM trying to figure out why theyre twelve cents long; those driven individuals to whom the CPAs concept of materiality is a sloppy excuse for inexactitude.
It seems to me that these opposing archetypes illustrate two different approaches to life. One is unswervingly bent on doing it right, on following the rules and reading the installation manual. The other is just as well-intentioned, perhaps, but less linear. One insists on documenting and quantifying every transaction. The other tends to be a bit hazy about cause and effect, less punctilious about balancing the equation. The one is governed by law. The other relies on grace.
One is governed by law. The other relies on grace.
And maybe heres where the two sides find common ground. Because all of useven the most rigidly analytical, the most insistent on procedure and resultsall of us get overdraft notices from life. All of us know, in our deepest hearts, that human existence isnt a zero sum. Creation isnt black and white. The ledger doesnt always balance. The guilty arent always punished, the worthy arent always rewarded, and the distinction between the two isnt always apparent. None of us can perfectly keep the rules, even the ones we make up for ourselves. When was the last time you maintained all your New Years resolutions for 365 consecutive days?
We all need to be able to write off the difference, to say, close enough, to forgive others debts as our own are forgiven. And maybe thats the toughest part: to do for others what we allwhether we admit it or notneed to have done for ourselves. As it turns out, theres only one kind of people: the flawed kind.
And now, youll have to excuse me. My bank statement just came, and Im wondering how many checks I forgot to record. . .