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sunflowers (unfinished) | oil on panel

Honor among thieves
Ever heard of the Pareto Principle? The kids these days probably call it the Principle of Factor Sparsity, but maybe the circle you run with calls it the Law of the Vital Few. Or maybe the 80-20 Rule? Well, I was going to tell you all about it, until I started nosing through the inter-nest and learned that it’s been done. A lot. I will tell you that 80% of the posts I read about the 80-20 Rule mostly resort to snagging their info and stats straight from Wikipedia; at least 20% of them filched the info word for freaking word. I believe in rhymin’ and stealin’ as much as the next guy, but for Puck’s sake, even 80% of junior high students know better than to plagiarize word for word and then post it on the internet with their names attached. Actually, I’m only 20% sure that’s a true statement.

✝Editor’s note: The author swore the Shakespeare nerds would love this one.

Rules of engagement
Somewhere in the heap, I spent about 20% of my time perusing a number of blog posts proposing that the 80-20 Rule applies to relationships. The twist I had never read before was that a person can only get 80% of what they want out of a relationship with their partner and must find the other 20% elsewhere, which leads to infidelity. 80% of these posts validated this idea. A single evening on the internet has left me 100% certain that we’re a ridiculous society.

If you don’t know 80-20 like I now know 80-20, here’s the wiki-link to get you started, but all you need to know to get through the next 321 words is that there was this Italian dude in the early 1900s who studied the income and wealth distribution of countries around the world; he found that, (cue sarcasm) surprisingly, 80% of the wealth was controlled by 20% of the population. Over 100 years later, this hasn’t changed. A natural phenomenon, this 80:20 distribution ratio shows up again and again throughout many fields of study such as business, criminology, and apparently, internet plagiarism as well as the cause of infidelity.

Don’t leave me hanging
Well, here’s my myopic take on the 80-20 Rule, known as the Nicololo Dictum. The Nicololo Dictum states, 20% of the world is full of sh*t, cannot be trusted, and will color 80% of your perception of the rest of the world. Oh, hold on… Wait. Oops. That’s the Nicololo Assumption. The Nicololo Dictum asserts, When 80% of a painting stands complete, there still remains a 20% chance to screw it up. I’m about 80% finished with the painting above, which means I’ve still got plenty of room to make a mess of it. A Corollary to the Nicololo Dictum proclaims, The last 20% of a painting will take as much time to complete as the initial 80% and, though seemingly disproportionate, will be equally important to the finished product. I’ve gotten to a point where the first 80% comes rather easily. It’s still a challenge to get this far, but the last 20% is where the real thinking comes into play. It’s also the last 20%, the final touches – refining details, deepening shadows, bringing out highlights – that bring the painting to life. It’s this 20% – painting the backs and sides, designing the certificate of authenticity, prepping it for hanging and print production – that allows me to call it finished and feel confident that I can, in good conscience, attach my name to it. I guess what I’m saying is that final 20%…

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