Tuesday, June 7, 2011

something that works

Because the washing machine had sprung a leak, I called a local repairman who lays no claim to being a brain surgeon and who presents bills that reflect the fact. What kind was it, he wanted to know. Was it a front-loader or a top-loader? I gave him the information and then asked what difference it made if the machine loaded from the top or the front.

The new, fancy machines that load from the front, he explained, are always going on the fritz not because a part is worn or because a penny got stuck in the machinery. The new ones break down because the computer electronics get flummoxed. No longer is it enough to have a machine that does its work and be done. Now there are computer parts that 'improve' things ... and as a result, offer another avenue through which to break down.

And from there we got to gabbing about cars, which suffer from the same sorts of improvements. He told me that in order to change a front light bulb in his wife's car, he had been forced to take off the grill, which is adjacent to but has no earthly connection with the light bulb. "Changing that light bulb would have cost me $200-plus if I hadn't known a guy who used to run a car dealership," he said.

I do like things that work. Just work. Not what color they are or whether my neighbor has one or they dance the tarantella on Sundays. Just works -- empirically fulfills the mission for which it was intended.

Buddhism is nice that way.

1 comment:

  1. When it breaks, ya gotta fix it. When ya can't fix it, ya gotta replace it. When it works, ya gotta use it. When ya can't use it, ya gotta store it. I appreciate drop kick durability, but the gotta's can wear ya out. Fortunately, they can be applied to my hammock too. It's not my choice to take a nap, it's my responsibility. Sorry, but i gotta.