Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Some things work the way they're advertised to work; they behave until, with abrupt finality, they no longer function or other.  Then, they are tossed, dispensed with, dumped into some maw, whereupon they are recycled either as something similar to what they were, or into their new appearance as something altogether different.  Useful as such things are in terms of their convenience, the ease they project into the warp and weft of our routine life, and the degree to which they make our life more memorable are indexes of how cheap they are, how replaceable and transitory their stay in our life.

We take such  conveniences much for granted, saving any kind of sentimentality for the thing that has passed into our hands from another, perhaps as an inheritance or a gift, perhaps as some commemorative, which is more than a gift; it is a recognition of some service performed.

Some things do not work as they are advertised to work; these we return or throw away, made a tad more cynical by the way things are brought to market in the first place, products of lackadaisical labor and planning, perhaps even products of indifference.

You have the greater probability of cynicism as directed to a work of art, in particular literature--but do not exclude musical compositions and/or performances  Your leniency is more apt to be directed toward some tool or gadget.  Even now, returned in recent months to the ranks of bachelorhood, your kitchen drawers teem with gadgets such as those helpful in removing lids from jars, straining the juice and pulp from fruits, storage vessels, battery-driven latte frothers, can openers, can sealers, dicers, ricers, slotted spoons, and the occasional couscous steamer.  Thus in your mind there are paradigms of individuals who are savvy with the tools of construction and the accouterments of the range, the oven, the grill, and the griddle.  A man or woman with a proper tool or gadget will, you would like to believe, produce a proper table or chair or even chest of drawers, perhaps as splendid a pie crust or receptacle for a Cornish pasty as ever left an oven.

You would delve into the depths of cliche by referring to such individuals as the salt of the earth because of the romantic notion that such individuals are singular in their ability to recreate the universe in its entirety should the need arise (and more events than ever serve as warning that some form of reconstruction will soon be necessary to repair ailments that more often than not are the result of inappropriate precautions and usage by humans.  Not to worry; there are significant numbers of young  persons who can (and often do) replicate or offer convincing riffs on classical antiquity in all its glory, making sure there is enough art to get us through the long winters of ignorance.  Awful as it would be to contemplate houses gone out of plumb, aqueducts and sewage disposal in significant disarray, it would be worse still without some sense of purpose in illustrations, books, pamphlets, and the haranguing exchanges of letters to the editor in magazines and periodicals.  And alas,no universe is worth its salt will survive for long without someone somewhere trying to produce some useful thing, some radiant convergence of elements known as story that can withstand transitory whims of the disposable.  

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