The analog and digital generation
Like many of the readers here, I am part analog and part digital. I am old enough to remember the analog world, but young enough to be comfortable in the digital world. In fact, I feel I'm somewhat lucky for knowing both worlds.
You see, back when my father and grandfather were young, the things that you owned stayed with you for a long time. Quality was paramount and an effort was placed into buying things that would last. Quality things. Things that were built right.
But those things were there for a reason, they were objects each person needed.
Thinking about men I admired, it dawned on me that most had a quiet contempt towards any excess of material possessions. Their expertise and confidence were displayed by the fact that they did not require much to live successfully.
(Art of Manliness - Go Small or Go Home)
Yes, my grandfather and father came to mind. They were by no means rich men, but they did take pride in the quality of the few things they owned.
My love for a good mechanical watch come from my father, for example. My grandfather had a clock that survived his trip from Europe while escaping the Nazis. My father learned from him to properly care for it, to disassemble it and repair it, to clean it, to put it back together and make sure it run within a few seconds every day. He taught me how to do this too. I was fascinated of how something so simple like a clock contained something so complex inside.
Yes, simplicity is hard to do.
So, today my analog heart prefers mechanical watches to their digital counterparts, even when the latter are more accurate. Yes, I love technology and how it makes the world better. Like the iPhone, for example, with all its power in my pocket. I still remember the old personal computers from the late 70s and early 80s, hoocked into TVs and with 16k of RAM. And now? Look where we are.
Yet, I prefer a good quality mechanical watch and not a cheap, digital watch.
Speaking of cheap, take the modern shaving tools. Plastic, cheap blades (as in quality) and thin foam on a can. Disposable.
Personally I prefer a good safety razor with a brush and proper lather soap. Yes, the initial investment is more expensive, but the blades are better, they are cheaper (as in cost less money) to buy by the 100s and they provide a better, closer shave without the irritation of today's cheap (as in quality) tools.
Yes, I am still using my grandfather's kit. Again, my friend Patrick Rhone's post come to mind: Final Choices
Anywhere I can make a buying choice that I, with proper care and maintenance, will never have to make again for the rest of my life, I do. In those cases, I’m willing to pay far more for an item if I know it will last a lifetime and, even more importantly to me, I will never have to spend the mental energy making a choice again.
Simple tools from another era that are still better than the current ones. This is part of the analog/digital battle I usually have with most things.
Today people tend to always go for the cheaper, faster option. Sometimes this is OK. But most of the times this is simply laziness. Or, not really having the right mindset, in my opinion.
We live in a digital world today, where things are fast, easy to search and index, and where good quality things are really good. Yet people often buy the cheapest things and they do it every year. Instead of buying a good quality item once and take care of it, and have it last a lifetime.
Think about this. Think about the analog things from yesteryear, the things your parents and grandparents owned. Think about how much they valued a good quality item.
Next time you are faced with the option of buying a piece of gear that is cheaper, think about this. Is it worth it? Or is waiting a little longer, saving the money and getting the best you can buy with that money, a better choice?