The story of Cecilia Gimenez and her amateur attempt to restore a flaking fresco in her church in Borja, Spain, is familiar to anyone who has tried to fix something when it was beyond their ability to make the repair.
I mean way beyond their ability.
You start by sprucing up Christ’s tunic and then you think you’ll add a touch of color to his face, and when that doesn’t look quite right you try to compensate by deepening the intensity of his eyes, and then the thorns seem a bit too stark …
Things can get out of hand rather quickly.
I did something like this once when I was trying to build a cabinet into wall of a bedroom.
I had a picture in my mind of how it was going to work out perfectly, even though I lacked the necessary tools, hadn’t thought through many of the critical details and dove into it without knowledge of the required techniques. But clumsy carpentry and crumbling plaster didn’t deter me. Each mess was inconsequential – a bit of “creative destruction” that would soon be reversed because my next brilliant step would erase all previous mistakes.
It is possible to convince yourself that there is a simple way to undo the damage if you stay optimistic and persevere, even though everyone else is begging you to walk away.
Minnesota lawmaker Kerry Gauthier and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin have been going through this painful process of late. Akin is still at it, busily transforming his potential electoral masterpiece into a child’s portrait of monkey without a face. Although once Akin truly sees the horror he has crafted, it will be harder for him to use the Gimenez defense – that nobody said “stop!”
When have you tried to fix something, and thereby made it worse?