Friday, December 03, 2004

Christmas Values, as told by Sinjon

I used to drive around a lot with my Dad when I was younger. I worked with him every day most summers and sometimes during the rest of the year when I had time or he needed help. We would sit and talk about everything from politics, art, religion, relationships, etc. I always like talking to my Dad too because he would use analogies or a short story to make a point. I would sit there in the passenger side and ask him a question and he would sit quietly, like he didn’t even hear me, and maybe five minutes later he would respond with a well thought out articulate answer.One of the stories he told me when I was younger was about these two guys and goes like this…

This guy was a writer for a car magazine and was well paid. He wasn’t a rich guy but one day he was able to buy an old 1940’s Ferrari. He wasn’t wealthy enough to drive it around, he probably couldn’t afford the insurance, but that wasn’t the point of the car. To him this Ferrari was the most beautiful thing on Earth. He and his friend would sit in chairs on his back porch drinking a beer and looking at that car every day. They would just sit and talk about how perfect that car was. One day though the sun was shinning down in their eyes so they decided to move the chairs to the other side of the car. As they sat there they noticed that the front fender was at a slightly different angle than on the other side. They went and checked it with a micrometer and then a ruler. Sure enough the Ferrari had a slightly different angle on both fenders. They checked the rest of the car as well and noticed small imperfections throughout the rest of the body.

Ferrari’s in the 40’s were hand made. They were not built on an assembly line by machines. A master craftsman manufactured each piece of the Ferrari painstakingly. So it is likely that the car is not perfectly symmetrical. In fact you could buy a 1980’s Honda that is perfectly symmetrical but it, of course, would not be as beautiful as this Ferrari.

So, the friends discussed it for a long time that afternoon and decided that the imperfections were what made this car as beautiful as it was. It was in fact unique.

The lesson here is two fold. One, this taught me that you have to not only look at something for what it is but how much time and energy went into it. That is the true measure of the value of something. And two, Uniqueness is a quality that can and often does get overlooked.

When I asked my Dad one year if he liked the models that I made him for Christmas or his birthday even though they themselves weren’t worth much (maybe $12.00). He said that they were worth much more than what I thought. When I asked why, he said that I needed to take all the hours that I had spent building the model; all the skill that it took in painting and shaping it. Then imagine how much the model would cost if he had paid me hourly to build it. Thinking back on that now I realize that I have never been able to afford a gift equal to the few projects that I gave to my Dad.

1 comment:

mommyjolle said...

Awww...I think that's a very flattering thing to say about your dad. I have always thought that although we weren't rich financially, the fact that you and your brother were able to spend some quality time with your dad was worth any price.