I can’t help but feel sorry for elderly people appearing on an antique show with a toy that they were given as a child some 60 or 70 years ago.
Frequently the toy is in an almost new condition in its original box. I know that there are families that teach their children to take care of things but that is going a little too far. Just imagine, a child only allowed to play with their toy under the most stringent conditions, and only on special occasions. Talk about not much joy in a toy!
It’s sad to think of all the fun the child was deprived of for all those years. The most troublesome part of this is that these people are probably going to bring up their children in a similar fashion ensuring that this kind of behaviour will be repeated.
On the other hand, in our family of two boys and two girls, our toys never lasted very long as they were either worn out from usage or destroyed by bashing a sibling with it. That, by the way, is nothing to brag about and is going to the other extreme, but is preferable to the first.
Recently, I was looking for a coffee table. I saw what what appeared to be a good buy in the furniture for sale section of the paper. When I went to look at it in an expensive and exclusive neighbourhood I found it was not as described and therefore was of no interest to me. When the seller saw I was not interested, he lauded the table by pointing out that it was in new condition as he had a glass top made for it when he bought it. Well I don’t want a wooden table with a glass top. I like wood, I want to see it, I want to feel it, spill coffee on it put my feet on it and get good use out of it in a similar manner to which we treated our toys as kids.
One of my fellow workers was visiting friends who had either had done well in business or had some sort of financial windfall. They bought a huge house and filled it with costly furniture which they immediately covered with plastic. They took visitors on guided tours of their house where some areas had been roped off from the walking area so that the rugs and furniture would not be subject to wear and tear.
Look, but don’t touch, was the implied message. The way that I look at it is that you must be very poor to be unable to use the things you have worked for that could make your life either easier or more enjoyable.
Years ago I bought an expensive and very fashionable light beige hat. The hat looked so good on me that when out visiting, everyone I met with wanted to try it on. As this would lead to finger marks on the brim I didn’t wear it often. After a few years of mostly sitting on the shelf, I tried it on and found that though it was in fine shape. However, while it still looked good, it no longer suited me and I gave it away.
I have friends that buy a new car and then are afraid to use it as they want to keep it in a new condition. How many of us have a closet full of clothes and shoes that we rarely wear?
Make good use of your possessions. Life’s too short not to get the best out of your belongings.
Ron Buffie is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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