Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Counterclockwise Lifestyle

You can't hire me most of the time, though I'm happy to give me services away for free, some of the time. Ah yes, the enigmatic, non-committal leisurologist. I like to do things on my time, not yours...that's why my watch spins counterclockwise.

My watch is a $20 Timex. Yours might be a $4000 Rolex. What time is it right now? We'd both say 7:26 a.m. My watch tells you that I'm sporty, thrifty and I like to know what time it is. Your Rolex tells me that you have too much money, or you don't know how to manage what you've got. It also tells me that you don't really care what time it is, because if you did, you'd own a watch like mine.

So what is a Rolex? It's a status symbol which tells the world that you've made it (in your own mind). What exactly have you made? A bad decision? A frivolous purchase? It's all relative...I know where I stand. If you stand before me and tell me that your Rolex is jewelry, then I'll drop to the ground and kiss your feet, but if you tell me it's a watch then I'll call you a liar. A Rolex has never been a watch.

The same goes for $250 jeans. They're no longer pants at that price...they're status symbols, or art. Levis are jeans.

I like quality and aesthetics, don't get me wrong, but we do tend to be easily lead down the garden path by material consumerism. A Rolex is a spectacular showcase of craftsmanship and design, but at the end of the day, the Timex keeps on ticking too.

The image that I chose today was of a door on a large truck, the type that tows a fifty-three foot trailer. I loved the fact that this truck clearly told the world that both the truck and the owner were 'not for hire'. That truck was 'an island'. It said that it couldn't be bought, or influenced in any way.

I wish that more of our politicians were like that truck, because I feel that our political system is deeply flawed, in that politicians are bought and sold every day. Why do individuals and corporations give money to political parties? Predominantly, though not exclusively, because they want something in return. What they want is not always in society's best interest, and that's why we have politicians in the first place, to bring the greatest good to the greatest number.

Why wear a Rolex? Because you want something in return. Why drive a chrome-rimmed Hummer? It makes no sense...you must want something in return. Why drive an 80mph offshore speedboat on a narrow little freshwater lake? Why put stickers on your car (I plead guilty, your Honour). Because you are in need of something. You need attention. You want to get noticed. Why do you need to get noticed?

That's a question worth pondering.

Why is Donald Trump like Donald Trump? Why the ego? Why the bravado? It's true that the world would be a boring place if we all drove stickerless Ford Focus station wagons and wore non gem-encrusted $20 Timex watches, so it's a bit of a novelty to watch someone unlike ourselves. So what makes people like Donald Trump tick? Is it a heart, or simply a Rolex?

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