Sunday, November 2, 2014

How Grandad Shaved: Focused on Function

I was musing the other day on the roots of this blog. It started with the idea of going back to our roots, to functionality, to economy, to efficiency. Grandad, as I envision him, was a child of the Great Depression. He understood the value of a dollar and the risk of hard times. As a result, Grandad was conscious of cost. If Grandad were still alive today, he would also be conscious of ecological cost as well -- recycling products and doing other things within his control to not further damage the ecology.

Grandad was not elitist; he was practical. If something wasn't necessary, he generally didn't do it. He had one shave brush. He had one DE razor. He found a good shave soap and stuck with it.

Grandad shaved to please his woman and, in general, to look clean, well kept. He also shaved himself to save the cost and inconvenience of frequent shaves from the barber.

I suppose it's a sign of our times, the prosperity and abundance to which we have become accustomed, that the function of the daily shave has become a pass-time of sorts, a hobby, for some of us.

We acquire things. This includes instruments and supplies of our shaving activity. We have razors of varied characteristics and from different eras. We have stock piles of razor blades. We have soaps, creams, butters, and powders. Our brushes are of boar, badger, horse, and synthetic fibers. We use lotions, balms, moisturizers, and more balms.

We like variety. We change our daily shave gear on a whim. Not only is it our few moments alone to concentrate zen-like on a single, practical task, but it's our time to celebrate.... options.

We like excellence, perfection. A good shave isn't quite enough. It has to be baby smooth -- and totally comfortable as well. We want it all.

Well, I'm not knocking going for the brass ring. Nope. I think that if you desire the perfect shave or a whole attic full of shaving gear, it's your privilege to fulfill that wish. However, recalling Grandad's focus on function, practicality, economy, and efficiency can help us appreciate our options. It can also help keep us grounded. Maybe we don't need that tenth razor. Maybe a six-year supply of blades is sufficient. Maybe we can share some of our stuff through sales or gifts, and allow others to know some of our pleasures.

Maybe remembering how Grandad shaved -- and why Grandad shaved -- will give us a link to our history, help us find pleasure and satisfaction even in the good-enough shave, and not just in the spectacular shave.

Happy shaving!

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