I’ve hung enough wallpaper to understand that seamlessness qualifies as no more than a relative term, one of many haranguing me these days. Each declares itself by what it is not, dogs whose sole distinguishing characteristic seems to be the absence of barking. Be wary of the dog that never barks, as if you’d ever know it was there.

With wallpaper, seamlessness means one cannot easily discern where the seam might be, but it’s an optical illusion; one built upon both clever design and skillful application. Look closer, though, and you won’t miss them, for they are there.

These days, seamlessness gets conscripted into many contexts. Seamless integration of disparate parts seems as common a promise as the cheerful refund, but, again, looking closely, anyone can see some disintegration in even the most artfully crafted attempts to integrate. From thirty thousand feet, almost any integration might seem seamless. At ground-level, the seams could swallow a bus.

Those accustomed to working on the ground also grow accustomed to the bluster raining down upon them. It might be well-intended, but it needs hefty amounts of generous interpretation before swallowing, otherwise one might start feeling a little crazy, believing only they can see the shockingly obvious seams surrounding them.

Somedays, it seems that about half the language needs similar interpretation. Beyond simple irony, snark and the deliberately doubled entendres, a hailstorm of words pass with no intention of meaning what they say. AWESOME! has had the stuffing knocked out of it with over-use. The merely noticed seems to qualify as the new awesome. Similarly, terrific, wonderful, superb, and ginormous have enjoyed equally twisting downgrades. I must be running a 103 degree temperature to say I’m feeling anything but, “Great.”

Nobody lives seamlessly. Our recent obsession on lessness-es seems harmless enough until the distinction between good and bad, happy and sad fall under its otherwise innocent scrutiny. Then we might smile when swallowing Wonderbread instead of discreetly choking it down and barfing it back up like we should. We might miss the meaning behind the crooked-toothed smile, noticing how crooked the teeth are instead of how genuine the smile. Real demands much real-time interpretation, and might be the eternal enemy of any lessness classification scheme.

I am enjoying a seam-filled reintegration after a long month gone. I could zip across the continent only to confront a context grown used to my absence. The usual entryway was locked and I’d misplaced the key. After weeks of thriving on four hours of sleep, I suddenly, uncharacteristically, feel tired all the time, and fuzzy-headed. Later, I might recall the seamlessness of even this re-entry, but for now, I’m nothing by sloppy seams.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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