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Inner Glow

Posted by Dirck on 17 July, 2012

The past weekend was apparently a good one for my more spiritual portions.  This makes sense, as unspeakable heat alternating with torrential rain are the standard in India, which is a powerful incubator of philosophy, and that’s what the end of last week here offered.

Because of the rain, my usual lawn-mowing time found crouching before the television, trying to find something like entertainment.  What I settled on somewhat surprised me, because it falls into the hated category of “reality programming”.  However, unlike the most hideous expressions of the breed which engage in a cannibalistic enterprise of making those who are famous only for being famous more famous by rendering them infamous, the show I got caught up in offers us people who are… famous?… well-regarded, perhaps, because they are actually good at something.

The show is American Restoration, which profiles the efforts of a business dedicated to returning consumer items of a bygone day to their original function, in an only slightly edited format (a good exercise in media savviness, by the way, is to count the number of camera angles in any given scene).  I imagine the reason the show is on at all is that the fellows working there could be described as a “motley band of characters” who get into potentially comic interpersonal friction, but the thing I found engrossing was the work itself.  A ride-on train of the late 1940s was resurrected to function, an old soft drink cooler retrofitted, and a slot machine eviscerated and re-rove.

I don’t think I need explain that I like the notion of that sort of thing, but it was not just the fact of these restorations that draws my approval.  There is is also the satisfaction that shines from each of the chaps involved as they beat entropy out of the objects in question.  There was at one point a loving explanation of the need, in the face of one component’s utter dissolution, to fabricate a new one, and of the breathless anticipation contained in the moment when old and new are mingled– will it fit?  Will it fit seamlessly?

This is a sensation I know well.  I mentioned a few days ago my limits in being able to fabricate new parts, but I’m not completely incapable, and when the need arises it is attended by the fine, semi-numinous sensations that come of believing one is able create coupled to the small undertone of uncertainty that it might not work as expected, and the exultation of victory when that undertone is at last extinguished.  Those whose entire response to a malfunctioning item is a shrug and a wondering of where to buy a new one rob themselves of this rewarding internal experience.  Sometimes, of course, that undertone becomes a crescendo, and the repair fails, but even in that there remains the warm glow of having tried.

Today’s pen (forgiven at last): Sheaffer Junior
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Vert Empire

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