Among the many, many things I don’t understand, is the saying, “What’s old is new again.” I’m pretty sure that what’s old, is still old. My shower curtain is old. I still like it, and it is still functional and attractive, so I see no need to replace it. I’ve been in my home for over twenty years and I brought my shower curtain to this house from my previous home. I want to go on the record (records are old, and now they’re popular again, but my old records are still old with scratches and skips) saying old is okay.
Old continues to decrease in popularity. Antiques are not as popular as they once were. Old people are neither valued, nor revered as they once were. We rarely brag that our washing machine, mattress, car or clothing are twenty-years old, or older. I admit, that while my parents had the same mattress for well over twenty years, I am happy that we now routinely change out our mattresses every seven to eight years (the whole dust-mite thing grosses me out). What I find discouraging is that even if we were unaware of dust-mite-habitat, mattresses don’t last beyond seven to eight years these days. Yes, this is going to be a “things were better in the good old days” kind-of post. Shower curtains were better in the good old days. They just don’t make shower curtains (feel free to substitute washing machines, mattresses, cars or clothing for shower curtains) like they used to.
Speaking of things not being like they used to be, let’s talk about the truth. It used to be that the truth was an either/or kind of thing. Now it seems as if the truth is whatever is being proclaimed the loudest. Truth has become quantified. The more something is posted, loudly proclaimed, widely broadcast, the more it is endowed with a moniker of truth. Many pre-retirement years ago, I worked in a school as an educational assistant for special-needs children. One of the children I worked with had Down’s Syndrome. He was delightful (and that’s the truth). Like all people, he did have good days and bad days. One of my tasks was to accompany a group of children as they were included in traditional (not limited to special-needs children) classroom settings. One day, I accompanied my group of kiddos to a history class. The student with Down’s Syndrome, in what was to become an act of prophetic behavior, would yell out following everything the teach said, “That’s not true.” In recent years, we have become more aware of history’s bias towards the victors. I’m sure that much of what the teacher said reflected societal biases and would have been an indistinguishable mixture of truths and non-truths. We don’t wait for history anymore, we just yell loudly and operate under a validated by volume bias. What does this have to do with my shower curtain? Well the truth is, very little, except that what’s old is old and what’s true is true.
New is okay, but old can be great. Commitment to quality and the pride in workmanship that traditional craftsman brought to their craft is being lost. When this happens, quality suffers. Some things may be old, but they can still be good.
At sixty-three years of age, I would have been considered quite old one hundred years ago. Now days, with the exception of my grandchildren, I’m not considered to be THAT old. It must be television. Television is convincing us that people are not old, but that washing machines, mattresses, cars and clothing are so old, they are constantly in need of replacement. It reminds me of a song that was popular with Girl Scouts: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
The truth is, my shower curtain is old, but I like it and I’m keeping it. I have wonderful old friends, and I grieve bitterly when one is lost. The truth is, I love my old friends. They’re gold, even if their hair is silver. I do have some new friends, who just happen to have silver hair, and I love them too. One of my old friends loved to quote Lily Tomlin’s character, Edith Anne, and so I will too. Old is still old, and that is not only okay, “that’s the truth!”