Kids today!

To begin, let me relate a tale for you. It's not so much a tale as it is a conversation. Tales are few and far between these days, what with all the fairies and goblins and minotaurs and such-like spending all their time in hiding preparing for their invasion of . Oh. Drat. It seems to me they have magicked me in such a way that I can not announce where they will strike. Well, folks put your terror alert level to rainbow, because somewhere at sometime there's going to be a magically delicious invasion which I am not at liberty to discuss. Look what a little Rumsfeld I'm turning into. Blasted fairies.

But that aside, I would like to relate a conversation I had with Master Lie-Paehlke a young acquaintance of mine who is sufficiently indolent to appreciate the pleasures of lying in beds of leaves sipping mulled wine and discussing the shapes of clouds.

We were engaged in just the activities outlined above when Matthew related the following information to me. He said:

"Von Mustard, you know how people are always complaining about things breaking and saying "they don't make them like they used to?"

I replied that while I had never met anyone who said this, I had the general impression that it was a thing which was said with great frequency in certain circles. What's more I informed him that since the Buddhists and Ancient greeks, many people have bemoaned the impermanence of material goods.

Young Lie-Paehlke replied that he had not set out to discuss ancient philosophies but simply wanted to relate something that he had noticed while closing up the cottage with his grandfather. Dismayed, I allowed him to proceed. I must admit I was quite hesitant that this conversation would prove far to factual and unambiguous for our present purposes. I didn't see anyway in which we would be able to fail to understand ourselves and be left with the the feeling that our words and thoughts were as shapeless as the clouds we were watching. Such a feeling of complete semantic isolation tends to greatly enhance the flavour of mulled wine.

Seemingly unaware of the great damage he might do to our palettes, Matthew spoke thusly: "Von Mustard," He said. "My grandfather spent so much time winterizing the cottage this past weekend. He emptied out all the hoses so they wouldn't freeze. He cleaned off all the windsurfing equipment before taking it inside and covering it up for the winter. Nothing was done half-heartedly, it was all careful and exacting and methodical, repeated diligently each winter. Then he had me help him take in the boat. He did not just pull the boat up into the boathouse. Instead he had me help him open up the engine, drain and replace all the oil, and then we poured some special type of oil in and ran the motor in dry-dock producing great clouds of blue smoke. I was worried, but he merely informed me that we were "fogging the engine" to protect it for the winter. I had no idea what this meant and I still don't, but what amazed me was the length of these elaborate rituals that he performed despite the fact that he had only used the boat three times this season."

By this point I had mostly stopped listening because one of the clouds was beginning to take the shape of a hippotamus. Ah river horse, you are a most excellent beast!

"Now Von Mustard, what I noticed as I was helping him, amazed at his ability to perform all this maintenance while virtually blind, was that the boat was in perfect condition. It was purchased when I was perhaps nine or ten.. It was at least 15 years old and still looked and sounded like new. Now here's my point, if I had a boat I would never read the user's manual, I would never fog the engine, it would be lucky if I got it out of the water before the lake froze. I'm beginning to think that 'they' do make things like they used to, but we just don't take care of things like we used to. The blame is upon 'we' rather than 'they.' We live in irresponsible times with no sense of stewardship."

The river horse had dissipated without once showing it's mighty set of incredible incisors and magnificent molars, so I decided to return to the conversation. "What? I'm shocked and appalled!" Said I. "Grammar Matthew is almost as important as the fogging of engines. The blame is on 'us' not 'we.' Perhaps you had made some conscious stylistic decision, but you are far too young to have any sense of the true import of grammar and should not disregard so casually that which you have yet to comprehend. You young people will be the downfall of us all! What's more aside from the grammar, I am sickened by the fact that you were surprised by simple maintance.
I mean I don't personally perform any mechanical activities, but Alphonso always fogs the engines of my non-wind driven vessels before I return them to harbour. With such an extensive fleet I only get to each boat once every eight years or so and owning such fine boats, it would be a dishonour to the boat and myself to not care for them properly."

Matthew rightfully recalled all the forty year old motorcars in Cuba that are still in perfect working order and then became distracted by a passing pirate schooner, with billowing white cloudy sails.

So here's the point dear reader. Take care of your belongings and they will serve you longer. Maintain your possessions and you will slow the destruction of our planet. It is a very simple gentlemanly responsibility and all of you who are failing to do so, should be shamed, and perhaps consider not attending even one more masquerade ball before your own home is in order.

While we may continually blame advertising and the corporate world for the propogation of our disposal society, much of the responsibility rests on your shoulders. Only you can prevent entropy! And forest fires, get on that too. And bring me some more mulled wine, chop chop.

Kids today...


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