I believe in sweating the small stuff. I believe that attention to detail and to form yield substance. I believe that a contract carefully drafted today will save untold headaches tomorrow, that when issues arise with that contract, and they will, they will not be nearly as difficult to resolve as they would have been without such careful drafting. I believe in revising and editing this essay more times than I care to count, because it doesn’t matter so much whether it makes sense to me as whether you, the interested, but busy, listener, will catch the sense of it without having to puzzle over what I really meant.
I believe that if I water my yard only before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. during the summer months, I will be contributing something small, but nonetheless significant, to the need to conserve limited natural resources. I also believe that by doing so, I will avoid getting a citation for illegal watering. I believe that the proper use of the word “only” is much more important than most people realize, because only by properly locating that word in a sentence can we know what we are really saying. I believe in using complete sentences. Up to a point. I believe that a baseball player who steals a base when his team has a big lead is exercising bad judgment. I believe that the faculty of judgment has no meaning except in how it is exercised, day-in and day-out in countless situations. I believe in coasting to a stop and in not using my car’s air conditioning whenever possible, because both of these practices save a little gas, and it is far easier to relate to a little gas than to millions of barrels of oil.
Sometimes I believe in making fine distinctions, such as recognizing the relative merit of getting up early to go for a run over getting just a little more sleep. Usually I just sleep, and that’s fine, too. I believe that Freud was on to something when he said: “When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons.” I believe that quoting Freud, and that doing so accurately, lends just the tiniest bit more credibility to what I am saying here. I believe that everything is in the details, God and the devil alike.
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