An Appreciation of the Hard Way

Here's the thing, Bunky, a lot of people get really focused on "efficiency" in life. Those folks think a new book, the latest gadget, or a new notebook might push them over the edge so that they might Get Things Done faster than they used to, and definitely faster than the other guy. And of course faster is better, right Chief? That straight line between points A and B must also be the optimal route. How could it not be?

Well, I have come to the point in my life where I am developing an appreciation for the winding road. In my mind, actually firing up the stove trumps bringing up the Pizza Hut iPhone app to get a pie and some wings (although there are still close calls on that front, to be honest). If a 50 year old hunk of metal gets the job done as well as the modern conglomeration of plastics and who-knows-what, this guy is probably going to go for the antique. I can - and will - go on...

Build Something

A great example of what I'm talking about is home repair and/or home improvement. These days most folks run the numbers and decide their time is worth more than the cost of hiring a guy to come do the job for them.

The truth of the matter is fixing or building things around the house is super intimidating and sometimes actually difficult. These points are especially true if you have never had any training or experience with this kind of work. That said, however, the resources are out there for you to quickly gain the knowledge you need to give it a go. Go learn how to do the thing you need to do and give it a try.

Remember, even if you really fuck it up, you can hire that guy on Service Magic to fix it, but odds are you'll do fine and you'll have the satisfaction of having done it yourself.

Make Your Own Food

This past year, the thing I've done that has excited me the most is our raised bed garden. Even though it didn't get finished until very late in the summer, we grew our own food in our own back yard. Talk about satisfaction!

Even if you don't want to grow food, though, it's worth putting in the effort to cook your own meals as much as you can. People who say they "can't cook to save my life" are both lazy and lying. Cooking is one o the the most easily acquired skills there is in this world. Your food will be better than most things you'd go out to buy and there's a high probability that it will even be better for you.

That Straight Razor Thing

The three of you who read this thing have already heard a lot about my obsession with straight razors. At this point I shave almost exclusively with a straight razor. Sometimes that means I only shave once a week, though, which doesn't do me any favors. At that point my technique suffers and I am more likely to cut myself. I might actually have a very faint, but permanent scar on my face now... For real.

I still love it, though.

Shaving takes a long time with the straight razor. First, I strop my razor and prep my lather brush; then I hop in the shower for a long, hot one; once I'm dried off, I make some lather and start shaving -- I usually do at least three passes at around 10 minutes each. The whole process takes 45 minutes or so, and I enjoy every single one of them. I play music I enjoy and just spend quality time with myself. More people should find something that allows them to have that kind of time with themselves.


Learning about and mixing classic cocktails, and even trying to concoct my own new recipes, give me a lot of joy, as some of you may have noticed. There's not much more to say about that, really. It's just another hobby that requires a bit more effort than the average Joe puts into it.

Your Way?

Now, let's be truthful, I'm not the King of the Hard Way by any stretch of the imagination. By no means do I always shun the efficient or the easy. Even the things I've listed above aren't exactly earth shattering, but it's an attitude I've been pondering lately.

So, how about you? Tell me about something you do the "hard way". What is an activity that give you more satisfaction when you do it by hand rather than with some kind of "modern convenience"? I'll bet some of you are doing way more interesting things than I am.