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DIY: Why Amateurs Have Heart

June 1, 2011

In a recent moment of quirkiness I told my friends I want to be buried in a pine box. I may just want to build it myself. Not alone – that would be way too depressing – but with a bunch of friends, some barbeque and a keg of beer, in my own backyard. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

For $895 I can buy a casket kit.

No surprise, Mother Earth News has a DIY page that shows me how to build one from scratch. They suggest a coffin building party.

Great fun as it sounds, I’m just not there yet. I can’t quite bring myself to – as my brother likes to say – pull the trigger. I’m too full of life.

On a cheerier note, I think I’ll get some chickens. Chickens are the new black.

You can order them by mail and they come in a perforated box, just as they are about to break out of an egg with their sharp little beaks. If you wait too long in getting to the post office, they just may be rioting.

My friend has them, my neighbor has them; they are changing ordinances in the city so anyone with a cardboard box in their backyard can have them, because we don’t like how the professionals are raising the chickens. That’s the thing: professionals don’t always do a better job than amateurs. As with everything, so much depends on sincerity and heart.

I mean, people can raise chickens on a grand scale and do it efficiently, but how! They are doing it for the stockholders, not the chickens much less the people who eat them. Amateurs have been raising chickens for centuries and eating them, even giving them names, or keeping them just to lay eggs, and for the most part things have gone well. There just wasn’t the same impressive scale to the enterprise: it was pretty much every man, woman and chicken for itself. The ones who raised them also ate them. In between they may have even felt fond of each other.

So I get to thinking: is this the time when people want to do for themselves what other people used to do for them? Could it be that even if we don’t have the skill, we know we have the heart?  Like — with all the beer and people laughing the casket might turn out crooked. Ask me: would I care?

So … if the people who used to buy things now want to make them, what does this say to the makers? Get small? Get heart? Get us? Not, I mean, like chasing us, but getting what we are about, like the people who love us do, like we ‘get’ our chickens and give them names, like we ‘get’ our children, like we ‘get’ our friends. I’m talking about a cosy world. Right here, right now. That would be my kind of heaven.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 6:31 pm

    This is a great post! Amateurs certainly DO have heart, and sometimes they have chickens (I do!), too.

    As for the pine box, I would be happy to go the way of all the pets before me, in a mass cremation, but I don’t think our culture would accept that. The spirit is what counts. And what the spirit does during its time on Earth.

    –Johanna

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