Saturday, October 29, 2011

Red, white and blue shredders

Some writers and thinkers say that we Americans live in a materialistic culture and I think that is the God's honest truth.  It's natural, I guess.  If you are a Pilgrim who steps off a big landing rock with little or no equipment, training or ideas of what goes on in a North American forest in the winter, you naturally begin facing up to the increasing cold and lack of grocery stores.  If you are a pioneer trying to get a few goods and your family across the mountains, rivers, plains and deserts, you naturally wish for a good airline and car rental agency.  If you are an immigrant to a new land and after a long journey not all that pleasant, you find a muddy by-water, you naturally compare where you now are with the neat, well-kept, orderly town you left to get here.

So, yes, we think in terms of material goods.  Not just in those terms but we do think that way.  As C.S.Lewis said, God loves material, having invented it.  So, our material inventions put us, we feel, on the path God has chosen.  We not only have central heating but we have smart thermostats that are steadily getting smarter.  We have fans to cool our fans.  We have trucks to transport our cars.  And now, we have a new (admittedly minor) industry rising: shredders!.

See, we harvest trees, we squash and cook them and press them into paper.  We carefully design attractive letters with great font designs and lovely photos included and print that message onto the paper we just made.  We use up our oil and give employment to our postal workers to deliver those papers to our houses.  When a householder, me, for example, gets that paper, he immediately decides the whole thing was a waste of resources and time and effort and wants to get rid of what was delivered.  Meanwhile, other industries and accompanying materials have arisen, like computers, computer communication, computer duplicity and computer crime.  The clever message includes information that some misguided people might use to get a bank loan on my house while proving they are me using personal information gleaned from the messages.

So, like others of my friends, I have a shredder.  This one is my third shredder and in the great American tradition, it is the biggest and most powerful one yet.  Once I realized that the really big and manly ones, the ones that can reduce whole trees to directly into chips in an instant, require what I dread - maintenance!  Oiling, sharpening, cleaning, oh my!  I have vowed that this is as far up the road to shredder excellence I want to go.  I don't want to "kick it up a notch", at least not until a shredder comes out that also has a high-powered telescope and goldfish bowl included.  Then, we'll see.

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