When I realized last week that my car was chugging toward 200,000 miles I started noticing a lot of my favorite stuff is old stuff.
I got a new TV last winter because I wanted it mounted on the wall and the new one weighs about half of what the old one did. My brother-in-law gave me the old one a few years ago and it was kind of old then. It was a flat screen but that sucker weighed 70 or 80 pounds. It cranked out the heat, too. I instinctively powered it up one morning last winter just to knock the chill out of the living room and it worked.
The new TV keeps sending me messages on the screen about updates and Apple TV shows. I don’t even know where those shows are but I guess they’re in there or out there somewhere. The new TV is pretty nice, though. It has a great picture and the audio is better than the old one. Reruns of the "Marty Stuart Show" sound great on it.
Everywhere I look around the house I see more old stuff. Heck, the belt I’m wearing right now is 25 years old. I’ve used every notch on it and it’s fun sometimes to look at the buckle marks lining the leather that show my fluctuating waist over the last 25 years. It’s kind of like counting the rings on a tree.
My favorite notch on the belt is one I made myself. I had a potato chip route in 2003 and the weight was falling off me that summer. I had my belt cinched as tight as it would go and my pants were still sliding down. It was driving me crazy. One afternoon at the warehouse I saw a framing nail on the floor. I picked up a brick and used it to drive a hole through the belt with that nail. I took the belt off before I did, though.
It’s been a few years since I’ve needed to use that particular notch but I notice it sometimes and take a second to admire it.
I use my old sling blade every time I get the chance. I bought a weed eater a couple of years ago but I probably haven’t used it 10 times. I always end up walking out to the shed and grabbing the sling blade when I need to whack some weeds. It’s quiet and I like the rhythm of it. I like the way the weeds float up and snow down around me when I use it. I’m always amazed at what a simple, yet effective, tool it is. The handle is faded yet still sturdy after all these years. My dad taught me to use this very one when I was a kid. I don’t recall him using it after he showed me how.
My favorite hammer is one that was my grandfather’s. It just feels at home in my hand. The old wooden handle fits my palm just right and the weight of it feels good, too.
A Guy Clark song called "Stuff That Works" comes to mind.
Stuff that works, stuff that holds up
The kind of stuff you don’t hang on the wall
Stuff that’s real, stuff you feel
The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall
I tend to stick with stuff that works.
Standard reporter Chris Simones can be reached at 473-2191.