Monday, August 2, 2010

What the hell happened?

 don't know why it happened.  Really, I don't.  My parents aren't like this.  My sister's not like this.  We grew up being frugal: used cars, brought lunch to school, rarely went out for dinner.  Mom used coupons at the grocery store.  Our house was comfortable but small. Didn't have a TV until I was almost through with high school.  My clothes were sourced from Marshall's.

And yet, through all of that I've somehow ended up being fascinated, drawn to, perhaps even obsessed with the best everyday items one can find.

There are a lot of people in the world who equate quality with expense.  As near as I can tell, this is most typically associated with people that obtain a lot of money in a very rapid fashion, and they want to show it off.  Like the Swarovski crystal toilet.  Did you look at it? The base is metal, and we're all quite aware that decent toilets are porcelain over cast iron (circa 1920s).  So this toilet is not the *best* toilet, regardless of it's exorbitant cost.

In defining "best" there's also the consideration of craftsmanship.  I'm disgusted with all the mass market consumer goods out there, designed in the US and Europe and then manufactured in a plant full of underpaid workers who are just trying to make it through another grueling work day.  With more and more goods being produced in this manner, it's no wonder that the few holdout craftsmen are sought after.  From the umbrella makers in England to the handmade shoes of Alden to the hand-cut, hand tailored suits made in the back alleys of Turin - there are still people out there that care about their product and take pride in their trade.

Perhaps it's just that - fascination and envy of people who are talented with their hands - that draws me to desire, appreciate, and at times even covet some of the best and most wonderful things humanity has made for itself.

--A

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