a thousand years

Been reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac recently.

“When I get all these nails out of this I’m going to build me a shelf they’ll last a thousand years!” said Bull, every bone shuddering with boyish excitement. ” Why, Sal, do you realize the shelves they build these days crack under the weight of knick knacks after six months or generally collapse? Same with houses, same with clothes. These bastards have invented plastics by which would make houses last forever. And tires. Americans are killing themselves by the millions every year with defective rubber tires that get hot on the road and blow up. They could make tires that never blow up.

Same with tooth powder. There’s a certain gum they’ve invented and they wont’ show it anybody that if you chew it as a kid you ll never get a cavity for the rest of your born days. Same with clothes. They can make clothes that last forever. They prefer making cheap goods so’s everybody ‘ll have to go on working and punching time clocks and organizing themselves in sullen unions and floundering around while the big grab goes on in Washington and Moscow.” He raised his big piece of rotten wood. “Don’t you think this’ ll make a splendid shelf? “

I sometimes feel the same way about most electronic goods. Put some glitches on the first edition, so get the 2nd or 3rd edition when all the errors are mostly gone? Okay fair enough there is some legitimate kinks that are sometimes only noticeable after many user tests.

But what if something was actually built to last long?  So we don’t have to keep replacing it? I’m not sure if there is a big conspiracy to make crap stuff. The question to ask yourself, in the fast-food culture of North America, when was the last time you considered the time and cost it took to make something? How long something would endure?

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