It is a double edge razor that my dad gave me when I was 12 or 13. Yes, I needed to shave at an early age. So the answer to her question was "a little over 40 years." Well, the answer stung me a little and she and the others among the third generation present thought it was funny that someone would have a simple tool so long. As we discussed it a little, I added that I did not know how old it was when I got it, but it certainly was not new. It was a short and fun conversation.
But the conversation continues in my head. There was something deeper that I could not put together on short notice. Gradually, it has occurred to me this week. This little tool represents more than a quaint method to trim whiskers. It represents the different perspective that generations hold about the passing of time, our place in the universe, and other generations. What?!? All of that in a razor? Consider this; most of the readers of this post will be near the age of my children and have never used or thought about such a razor. Not only that, the notion of keeping one half a century seems beyond ridiculous to them. Disposable plastic and electric razors are all they have ever known. I understand how archaic it must seem. Really, I do. To prove that my generation has struggled with the same thought process, check out these pictures;
It is a razor blade sharpener. That's right, not only have razors not always been disposable, the blades were not always either. Guess what? Neither were plates, cups, or diapers. They were all washed and used again and again. And not that long ago none of those things were washed by placing them in a machine and turning a knob. You had to go outside to a pump for water and heat the water on a wood burning stove. You are thinking this went on in the days of George Washington but you would be surprised how recently some areas did not have electricity and indoor plumbing. So pardon me if I chuckle when youngsters who missed the "ice age" talk of 30 years ago and can't imagine the economic depression of 80 years ago, try to educate me on global warming and carbon offsets. I have had a soft life compared to my parents and they had it easy compared to their parents, etc. The current young generation has had it easier than all so far. To most of us that is a good thing. But microwaves and disposable diapers and razors and fast-food containers that make life so easy bring a price.
This little poem did not originate with my parents, but it states what they taught me by example;
Patch it up
Wear it out.
Make it do
Or do without.
It is a change we can believe in.