Mum got me this for Christmas… not the whole thing, or the little vintage diving helmet in the background.. just the brush.
I’m 38 years old. My grandfather was born in 1912, his father, I’m not sure.. but that shaving brush, it turns out.. is his.
Mum didn’t tell me either. Christmas Day I was pleasantly surprised..
‘Oh .. nice’ I thought.. ‘it has a cool vintage look to it.. someone’s taken the time to give it that look. Is that wood? I think it’s a kind of resin.. ‘
I had a decent brush already so I was like ‘cool.. that’s fine.. I’ll use this one now.. mum gave it to me..’
And I’ve been lazily using it, not really washing it properly, jamming into that little holder that wasn’t made for it.. probably putting indentations, more scratches.. more wear into it.
So then fast forward to last Thursday and I get a text from mum:
“P.S the shaving brush in yr Chrissee present belong to Granpa Burt . It is clean . I have his shave bowl if u want this memento as well.
Cos text messages from your parents.
Okay take a sec guys.. watch this, it’s funny.. and related.. just come back hey..
So that knocked me for six a bit.
I tend to preference chucking shit out over keeping something that might be surplus to surviving comfortably. And sure, let’s keep ‘comfortably’ open to definition, it’s different for everyone. But I’m not sure I could chuck this out. And I’m trying to figure out why. There’s a nice thought to the fact that I’m using something that’s well over 100 years old and has been in my family the whole time. But is that it? Is that all it is that keeps me attached to this thing?
What if I did chuck it out..? No-one would know.. I’d be free of the obligation of keep-saking this ‘thing’ until I died.. but I don’t think I’d end up disappointing my mum, and probably the extended family as well who I suppose whether they know it or not, have entrusted a shaving brush, aligned closely to our family, into my care. If I just threw it out, I’m sure they’d be frustrated that someone else could have cared for it a little better. So there’s this obligation, or duty of care, for the sake of nostalgia. Do we end up dragging a sack of probably mostly ornamental / non-practical items around for the sake of it?
And is it simply for the sake of keeping the nice thought of legacy, of age, or family, and of memory. As individuals I guess we value this differently. I never really have, I don’t have much by way of collected items throughout my life, those I do have, I would struggle to throw away because the memories they conjure are a nice experience to relive.
Clearly over-thought given the minor impact of hauling a shaving brush around for the rest of my life. I think personally I’d be okay getting rid of it; just not yet.