you can do it, we can help...

or can you? I had a conversation with an intelligent young woman who likened the downfall of modern American society to Home Depot. Her point was basically that the individualistic tendencies of modern culture are personified in the motto of America's Home improvement mecca.

"You can do it, we can help."

You, as an individual, as an island unto yourself... can AND Should do "it" yourself.

Don't rely on anyone else.

Do it yourself. It will cost less. You can have more.

An interesting analogy. It speaks to the issue of whether self-reliance is a crutch or not, as well as, an apparent societal obsession with acquisition valued by quantity. It’s all about me. I have been seriously planning on laying down the bamboo wood floors in the house on my own. I think I can handle it. I can buy my hardwood floor materials and install them myself. Yes. Yes, I can. I don't know how right now, but I can learn. It can't be that hard. I don't need to pay some people to come and do this. Not at all. Plus, I can have people over and tell them that I did it.

"Hey, you like the floors? Yeah... well that was all me. yup.. surprised? didn't think I could handle it? Well I showed you, didn't I? I got skills. I did it without you or anyone like you. Its all about me."

I probably wouldn't say it like that, but there is still some truth in there.

Here's the problem with me doing my hardwood floors, myself...

skilled labor

or lack there of.

Instead of going to someone who does floors, I do it myself. I do a semi-decent job. Take that action and multiply it over other house growers. we have a steady growth of cheaper cost, cheaper result floors being installed. It soon becomes cost INeffective for workers to specialize in hardwood floors anymore. As a people, we start to convince ourselves that we are better off, because we have evolved beyond having to depend on some floor guy/gal to set the stage for our bi-weekly swiffer sweeping. BUT... what we are actually doing is watering down quality in lieu of self-affirmation. I am not sure that that is what house growing should be all about.

Why is it so important for me to feel autonomous?

Long story short and analogy together... here we go...

I spent a summer in Rome about 7 or 8 years ago. Every Thursday morning, I went to a butcher to buy my various meats to supplement my pasta dinners for the upcoming week. Every week, same butcher... just meats. I imagine that had I stayed there longer, I would have started to develop more of a relationship with the butcher, but nevertheless... we were cool. I mention this because I trusted the meats from the butcher for two reasons.

  • They only sell meats.
  • I'm trusting partly in the product and partly in the person.
  • The modern supermarket has meats... in fact.... they have people as well.... BUT... I don't trust either of them. The folks working there vary regularly. They could care less about meat. It could be chicken, salmon, or lamb chops... doesn't matter... you want it? how much of it? How much does it weigh? Here you go... plastic wrapped and Styrofoam packaged, price tag made before my eyes. And why would they care? No one one cares about them. Descendants of independent butchers... trained in the ancient art of meat selection and refinement...reduced to an apron and a box of loosely fitting plastic gloves, in an over air-conditioned, back corner of a 40,000 square foot building with no windows. That’s gotta suck..... plus.... there’s all this questionable meat around... I definetely Don't trust the meats. Usually, first check is the expiration date, then the dig to the bottom of the pile for the furthest date in the bin. Hmmm... definitely not signaling "trust." I can walk the aisles of the grocery store and marvel at every item being within a stone's throw of each other. How convienent and clever of us. Point is, the industry was watered down and because we are so used to it, it seems okay.

    I think ultimately, Yes, I CAN do it, but.... I need to be careful how much quality and trust in people I am willing to sacrifice for a my own self-aggrandizement.