Friday, August 20, 2010

take care of it

About two blocks from the apartment I once lived in in New York, there was a second-hand store. This was at a time before anyone used the term "pre-owned." It was just used stuff and I loved nosing around in its dusty nooks and crannies.

Like some guy in a hardware store ("I never met a tool I didn't need"), I usually found myself hooked on one thing or another -- a lamp, a small statue, a plate ... it was as if I hated the idea of going home empty-handed.

After a while, the guy who ran the place knew my face and we would exchange pleasantries as I poked and prodded. Usually, I would pay the asking price for whatever I found, but on at least two occasions, I found something I really liked and simply could not afford at the asking price. In both instances, the owner told me he would lower the price, but only if I promised to take care of the item.

It was an odd and wonderful request, somehow. It may have been a come-on, but I had a sense that he meant what he said ... if you love it, then honor it and take care of it. Don't treat it as if it were just another thing among all the other things you owned.

One of the things was a small bedside lamp stained in a mahogany color (and perhaps mahogany wood) with a chip out of its dish-like base. Forty years later, it still stands on a small table to the left of the bed, making book pages visible.

The other was the four-inch-high, rusted-iron(?) head of a Buddha or bodhisattva. Like the chip in the lamp, the head had a piece broken out of the back. It was a nice but unremarkable head, but its three-inch wooden stand had clearly been hand made with a great deal of care. Even today, when I see it sitting on top of the refrigerator with its water and incense bowls, I'm not sure if it was the base or the head that got my attention in the first place.

One day, these things will be someone else's bric-a-brac or perhaps just be consigned to a large, black garbage bag, but in the meantime I am somehow pleased with their tales: If you love it, then honor it and take care of it. That way they will always be bright.


  1. i wish every blog entry comment can have a title, mine would be called "Cutting Corners".

    I don't have shakespeare's quotes, but a lot of grandmother quotes. Speaking of which, my grandmother was sick today after eating leftover's from yesterday night, and I had to maintain composure that there was probably a better way out than to care.

    How to help somebody who is sick at home, when I am outdoors having a good time at a local musical gig? It was the only time after a hard day of work that I get to listen to some music which required no critical analysis.

    The best things in life are earned, not given.

    There is no French in a French Fry.

    I don't mind if you get this done on Friday night, and I will check my email over the weekend.

    I just want to love.

    Low Prices & More!

    Hey, which of the two babes in that car looks like a good catch?

    It is easier to just walk away when something which another person well deserves, decides to give it to you and ask you to love it. Just like a young man who tries to date a young girl and gets her into bed on their first dinner. The question is, did he spare a thought for her father's feelings?

    Three shots into the heart to kill, one senseless gesture to break it.


  2. don't feel high, don't see stars.

    drugs kill. just as dharmas do.


  3. my grandmother was asking me to dial a phone for her. she has her telephone booklet hidden somewhere in her treasury of important items, she does read, nor write, so for a person's name that sounded like pig, she'll draw a pig's face and carve several digits onto the pieces of paper that look like egyptian ancient writing.

    But she got past WWII, the Communist uprising, my nation's independence, all the way into the 21st century. All without knowing how to read a single word or phrase, let alone a Buddha noble truth.

    I have no idea how on earth people like her survived. But she did. She is what in my heart, I consider as an eternal problem which cannot be solved, yet a solution for all problems which I never considered to be one to begin with.

    Malarkeys aside, anybody who cannot cook as well as my grandmother, is an friggin idiot.