Not Just Some Lamp I Used to Know

lamp2To repair or replace. It so often comes to that, doesn’t it?

Sometimes the answer is easy because the cost difference is so great. Too expensive to fix. Too expensive to replace.

Sometimes the answer is different because you have the skills to repair and I don’t.

And sometimes it is about attitude.

Yes, attitude. Attitudes about value. Attitudes about worth. Attitudes shaped by a culture of disposability. Attitudes shaped by a culture of heritage. Attitudes shaped by materialism. Attitudes shaped by minimalism.

I’ve found my attitude to fix things challenged recently. Challenged by the fact that some many objects in the last fifty years were specifically designed to be disposable. Never meant to be repaired. And in fact are not even repairable.

When I was a kid we cursed things that were made of plastic. Why? Because once a plastic piece broke we didn’t have the tools or skills to fix it. Wood I could glue. Metal I could solder or weld.  Plastic? I could hope the super glue would hold. It usually didn’t.

Recently I was with a friend as he took a lamp in to get it back up and running. It was missing a few parts. Though probably not horribly old it was certainly hand made. Unique but difficult to place an accurate value on it.

Cost of fixing it up wasn’t exorbitant but wasn’t a trifle. Was it worth it? Again, I suppose it all depends.

In this case the answer was yes. Probably because it was handmade.  If it was a mass produced fixture from Home Depot made fifteen years ago the answer may have been no.  You can buy the same fixture new for the price of replacing a bad socket.

How sad is that? Pretty sad. We can toss resources like they mean nothing. We can get more, right?

So buy something old. Buy something handmade. Your attitude towards it will be different. And that’s a good thing. So when it needs a repair, it will be worth it. And your lamp won’t be something you used to know.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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