The Way I See It

On the Importance
of things

It is becoming increasingly common these days for people, in their daily routines, to stop to think about things. Things are becoming neglected by an ever-growing segment of our population. We expect things to be there for us, without having given them the least bit of respect. But things disappoint; they fail to live up to people's expectations, or simply disappear from a lack of love. This, in turn, is resulting in a backlash from people toward things. Everyone should really just stop and think about things.

Case Study A:
Pine door, circa 1920, harvested from forests in what is now Toronto.

The door fails to work one day and its owner bursts into an uproar. He repeatedly beats the door into the wall. Prior to it not working, he had walked through the door 4732 times, opened it 3541 times, and closed it 3298 times. Never, not one single time in the six years he lived in that house, did he ever give a verbal or mental moment's thanks to the door when it had worked for him.

Studies have shown that doors are amongst the most commonly abused things. Computer keyboards, beer bottles, drum sticks, pants and phones round out the top five consecutively (although computer keyboards taking first place is suspect, as they had a large role in organizing the surveys, records, and results of the study).

Amongst the most loved and nurtured things are musical instruments, guns, flowers, cars, money (of course the lower the denomination, the worse the abuse - pennies, for example, rank in the top 100 most abused) and things worth a lot of money, like jewelry.

Case Study B: RCA VCR, circa 1989, built in China and sold in 1990 in Toronto.

Like the pine door, the VCR malfunctions at a crucial moment when its owner really "needs" to watch some porn, but the picture is unclear and the wah-wah on the soundtrack is the only thing audible. The owner impatiently tries the tracking to no avail, rips the power cord out of the wall, and subsequently buys a DVD player, though this causes his porn video collection to become obsolete.

These days, when I drink a glass of wine, I like to think about the grapes. Food and drink are a special case of things. They have an even more intimate contact with people than do other things, as they actually have the ability to transform themselves from things to being parts of people, until part of them becomes piss or shit - once again under-regarded things.

The fact that many ancient cultures regarded humans as a part of the living world, on par with plants and animals, is well documented. Many of these cultures also thought of rocks, water and other elements as possessing human qualities or traits. Although in the modern world, most of the things we deal with are man-made, they are still made up of these elements and could well possess the same human qualities that people, animals, plants, or rocks feel. Thus, the pine door felt under-appreciated, as did the VCR. Maybe a little love and care would have made them work.

Case Study C: Fender Stratocaster, Monterrey Pop Festival, 1967.

After spending the previous day lovingly painting his guitar, and having played a brilliant set on that very guitar to reintroduce himself to America, Jimi Hendrix sacrifices said guitar by setting it on fire. The guitar, knowing that it was loved and appreciated, gives a few squeals and sizzles of feedback, knowing that, although it must perish, it will certainly be immortalized in rock history.

In the daily, go-go-go grind of Toronto life, we have little time to think about things. I advise all the readers out there to change this pattern wherever possible. Take some time and give those things some love. Take a soldering iron and repair some of those old, forgotten patch-cords. Listen to some of your old cassettes. The next time you open a drawer, pat that desk or bureau on the... wood, and say, "Hey thanks, I appreciate it." You'll see that things will thank you back.