Monday, May 28, 2012

Puzzlement From the Archives

From the depths of my link library. I suspect you can guess how it sold itself to me...

In any case, despite first having read it years ago, I'm still not sure what to make of it.
""I bought those shoes for a special purpose," he told me; "and I want them to be a lifelong lesson to you. There are just two grades of commodities in the world: the best -- and the others. My experience is that it pays to buy the best; and what applies to things applies equally to men."
I performed this exact experiment with jeans, except the cost spread was even greater, and found the opposite result. In this case, there's the best, and one slightly coarser which doesn't hold the dye as well. Indeed if I wanted to be uncharitable, the more expensive pair developed minor holes first. My conclusion is that it is with products as with salaries; there is a minimum level necessary for satisfaction, and anything after that is just perks.

But that's not the point of the article, is it? I'm being autistic. In this case, on purpose, to contrast sharply between how I can think about it and what it is trying to say.

Aside from wishing to understand it better, I'll note that it has these little wildly-useful nuggets, put in terms of personal experience, that newer writers seem incapable of producing. (Can I? Probably not. [But at least I know to copy his.] How would I even tell whether I can or not?)
"I was flattered by his interest, so I thought it over. That is, I indulged in what young men frequently mistake for thought. In imagination, I saw my name over the door and myself in a fine glass office looking out and watching clerks taking in money."
With this, I can check to make sure I don't. Further, I now realize it exists and it will occur to me to look for it in others. Finally, were I to try writing fiction, I can create a more believable and interesting character.

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