October 15, 2010

Make It Last: Item #5 - Shaving Supplies



North Americans are completely Trichophobic - we have a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of hair. I must have trichophobia , too, because I keep on scraping my face with sharpened pieces of metal. Expensive sharpened pieces of metal.

I have made my razor last for so long that I can't remember how old it is. It only has a double blade, so that puts it into historical perspective. Since I bought it the triple and quadruple-bladed razors have been on offer to the hair-phobic masses.

I have resisted making the upgrade, but the other day my old razor handle finally wore to the point that it would no longer hold the blade on. But I still had a stash of blades. They would be useless, because you can't buy the handles any more. Did I mention that blades are expensive?

The thing that ticked me off the most was if the handle of the razor had been constructed out of metal it would probably last for generations, or at least my lifetime. But that would not be profitable. It is simple planned obsolescence.

Razor handles are pretty much given away by companies to get trichophobic men hooked on the really expensive part - the blades. And the more cutting edges per blade, the more expensive. When does it stop? Can Octo-blades be far away? Will the shave be twice as good as the quad? I don't want to support this kind of insanity. It was time to get creative.

MacGyver was TV's go-to guy when it came to doing what you had to do, with what you had on hand, wherever you were. I fully appreciated his use of imagination in dealing with challenges:
“When something's broken, the easiest thing is to throw it away, forget about it. But if you just step back and take a look at what you've got, you find a totally different way for it to work.”.
At first I could not imagine how I might affix the blade to the handle as worn out as it was. But when I stepped back and looked at what I had to work with, I found a way. A small piece of bent paper clip, a candle, a pair of pliers, patience, a steady hand, and in 5 minutes I was looking at my New, old razor.

It would have been easier to throw my old razor (and blades) in the garbage, and go shopping for a new and improved shaving system. Apparently that is what we call a razor these days. I guess it helps justify the stratoshperic cost when you feel that you are getting an entire system for dealing with your cultural anti-hair phobia.

I am not buying all the sleek, modern, aerodynamic hair removal systems being offered non-bearded men (100 times better than a sharp stone!). I will make my current outdated 'system' last for a while longer, then decide how to proceed.

I will either pull a Grizzly Adams and grow a big bushy beard, or buy a straight blade and strop that will provide clean shaves for the rest of my life.

I like to think that MacGyver would appreciate my razor repair, and creative use of the resources on hand in solving my latest make it last challenge.

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