The emperor’s new clothes


Friend of mine brought me a magazine.  Western Living.  We cracked up!  Neither of us have any idea of western living by the standards promoted in that magazine.  It might as well have been the Robb Report for all the relevance it had to us.   Who are they kidding?

“Hey!  Didja see the piece on cutting boards?  Page 26.  Not gonna believe it!  hahahahahaha”. 

Page 26, Western Living, an article titled Chop Chop shows ‘designer’ wood cutting boards.  Designer Christian Woo has a slab o’ wood in ‘his customary rectilinear style’ priced at $210.00.  It’s a short plank, fer Gawd’s sake!  Another hunk of wood was $260.00!  A dinko piece we would burn because it was too small to use was fetching $49.00!

“Hey, this is good.  We’ll cut planks and make a million bucks!  Fuggedabout skill, style and workmanship.  I can do that with a chop saw and a sander!”

“No, Dave.  You missed the marketing angle.  That one was made from the joists and rafters of an old horse stable.  That kinda cachet is getting harder and harder to come by, ya know.  Adds to the cost, don’t you know?  And the other one came from a family-owned sustainable woodlot.  We’re talking history, ecology and family values, here!”

“Sorreeee….I thought one was a piece of wood and the other was another piece of wood.  I had no idea of the significance.  No wonder it is priced so high.  Still, I may just use only sustainable, west coast, heritage, first growth, family-loved and cherished wood myself when I cut slabs.  Got me a pile of it sitting under the house.  Sorry, I meant to say: ‘shaded and matured in an au natural air-dry, no-animals-harmed environment’.  Surely people can’t be that stupid?”

“I dunno.  Look at page 44.  See the bathtubs?  There isn’t one there that doesn’t cost more than the cars we drive – yours and mine combined!  Consumerism is attaining new heights in the city!  By the way, didja know that a cord of wood delivered in Campbell River now is going for $200.00?”

“Wow!  Didn’t know that.  Got me a grand’s worth of wood sittin’ down on the beach!  Yikes!  May have to hire security.  Sheesh.  Mind you, I bought soup and a sandwich for my friend, D, and I the other day down south.  It was a trendy, funky kind of place but still the kind where you go to the counter and order off a chalk board.  Bill came to $54.00.  Small soup each.  Nice cheese sandwich.  Two cups of tea.  Good thing Stats Canada assures me that overall the cost of living is still only rising at around two percent, eh?  Musta accidentally ordered one of them fancy cheese sandwiches.  My bad.  I woulda worried about the bill but I was buying gasoline a bit later at $1.40 a liter and nothing seemed to make sense after filling up anyway.”

So, I won’t go on.  You know the spiel.  What started out as a joke on silly consumerism became a bit of a lament about the rising cost of living.  Maybe it’s a habit.  I dunno.  Costs always rise, it seems.  And I always complain about it.  But I am now largely a non-participant in that madness most of the time, thank God!  I do, however, feel sorry for young people, single parents, the working poor and those who still believe in a system reliant on inflation.

I am glad there is real growth in the forest.  At the very least I will always be rich in breadboards.

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