OPINION: I have a funny job. For around two minutes, once a week, I tell a story on the television about a nice person I have met in the past seven days.
The program is called Good Sorts, but don't get the people on it confused with the person making it. I am essentially not that great a sort. I have many personal failings, some of which I would like to share with you now. Feel free to revel in them, I do.
Loved ones will tell you my most annoying habit is not keeping my possessions in my possession. I have left keys, wallets, phone chargers, glasses and numerous other essential items in hotel rooms all over New Zealand.
This week it was my daughter's favourite soft toy, Stripey, whom I left tucked up in my hotel bed in Napier. She likes helping me pack my bag and thought Stripey needed to come with me. My daughter doesn't yet realise how forgetful I am.
On other occasions I've travelled up a mountain, out of the car and to the beginning of a chairlift queue before realising my snowboard is at home. Earlier this year I arrived at the airport with my keys, wallet and glasses but no luggage. There's only so far you can get on one pair of undies and socks.
Getting reattached to my possessions has cost me plenty of time and money. It has also caused hours of hilarity among friends and family.
Especially last year, when my wife in an act of desperation got a couple of hundred stickers printed with my name and phone number on them. She attached these stickers to anything I could potentially become unattached to. Prescription sunglasses, iPhones and wallets were her first port of call. I was being treated like a 5-year-old who gets his clothes named. I deserved it.
I have other failings.
I panic in social situations when I have to introduce people to each other. It's a simple skill but I get flustered about people's names and sometimes my mind goes blank. It's very embarrassing and disrespectful to people if you can't blurt out their name on demand.
I struggle with knowing when to go home from parties. Some people are eminently sensible and aware of the consequences. I am not. I party like it's my last one ever.
I know we all have failings. I know we try to hide them. It's brilliant when they poke out. My mother-in-law is normally a good cook but the other night she had a shocker. Her lamb casserole was as black as the tar that melts on those rare sweltering Wellington days. Her guests tried in vain to disguise their furnaced lamb among the mash potato. I thought it was the funniest dinner ever.
Yesterday my daughter was almost catatonic with excitement when Stripey arrived home in a courier bag from his trip to Napier. As I told her the story of how he'd taken planes, buses, trucks and the postie's bicycle to get to our place, she was amazed. Having failings can be expensive and exhausting but if you accept them with good graces, they can also be a lot of fun. Perfection, I've got to say, is boring.
Hadyn Jones is a journalist and an imperfectionist. He writes a fortnightly column.
- The Dominion Post