If It Ain’t Broke

Probably the best advice I’ve never taken is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Another helpful tip that I will most likely never internalize is not to fix whatever doesn’t need fixing if you have no idea what you’re doing, but more on that later.

When I was younger, I thought all my problems could be solved with tape. Or at least that’s what my parents thought I believed; really, I liked making them laugh, so I’d often stick tape in moronic places—electronics, shoes, door handles—and pretend I thought I was helping. This was before I learned that sometimes people laugh because they’re basking in your stupidity and not because they’re having a good time. Technically, I still haven’t learned that lesson.

Anyway, I should have stuck with the tape. The farthest back I can remember failing miserably at fixing things is elementary school art, when I blacked out a sizable portion of a painting just to mask a tiny smudge. My characteristic need to improve (read: ruin) things evolved over the years and ultimately culminated in the Hole in the Wall Incident, in which I accidentally punched a hole in the wall of my bedroom and very intelligently tried to fill it in with white acrylic paint.  After a deep reflective experience, I came to terms with my inability to just leave misfortunes the way they were, realizing that I probably would have been better off had I just told Mom to begin with.

I proceeded to tape a fake “To-Do List” over the hole and take the secret to my grave.

Why am I regaling you with these stories? You’ll see.

Yesterday, the 16th of April, was my senior prom. I hadn’t gone to any high school dances (by which I mean homecoming dances) prior to prom because it sounded like a lot of work for a purportedly fun experience. Hair, makeup, dress, date, group, plans? Count me out.

But having missed out on every other dance, I figured I’d try for the full senior prom experience. I bought a dress. I got French tips. I joined a prom group. I contributed absolutely nothing to the group plans.

The hair and makeup appointment, though, is what I really want to talk about. Specifically, the makeup appointment. Specifically, after the makeup appointment. Do you see where this is going?

After arriving home from the appointment, I realized the stylist had forgotten to contour my face (basically, adding highlights and shadows to change your face shape) and decided I would do it myself, even though a) I had never contoured before, b) I didn’t have any brushes, and c) I didn’t have the makeup to reapply in case something went wrong. I also didn’t even feel the need to watch a tutorial video before I started. Did I mention I had never contoured before?

Where was this self-confidence when, I don’t know, I did anything else ever?

Half an hour later, I emerged from my bathroom and slid into a seat at the kitchen table for lunch. Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong—somehow, my cheeks were now tinted gray, a color that I definitely didn’t use—and I waited to see if Mom would notice.

She didn’t say anything until a couple minutes in, after I’d let my guard down. “Why is there black…?”

“I DON’T KNOW,” I all but screamed, flying out of the seat and clutching at my face dramatically. “Why is there anything?”

We rushed to the other bathroom to scope out the damage. I’ll try not to bore you with the makeup details, but, basically, I was trying to remove the gray without removing the rest of the makeup on my face, because I didn’t have the same color and thus wouldn’t have been able to reapply.

Basically, it was that elementary school painting all over again: I tried concealing the smudge and then wiping off the smudge, and the situation got so bad it became hilarious.

“What about blush?” Mom asked at one point, catching her breath. “I was thinking red and white made pink,” she said, like either of us cared for a justification.

Reluctantly impressed by the matching patch of grey on my left cheek and white on my right, I met her gaze in the mirror and tried to stop wheezing for two seconds. “At this point, why not? This can’t get any worse.”

And even though saying something can’t get any worse is the precursor for exactly that, miraculously, it worked. Red and white made pink and all was well and not too noticeable. This time, though, I’m really determined to not make this a recurring experience.

After this mess, I’ll remember that if it ain’t broke, especially if I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, not to fix it. And when I do, inevitably, try to fix it, make sure that Mom’s around to save me from myself.


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6 thoughts on “If It Ain’t Broke

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