Have you seen this yet? Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait. I think it’s kind of important.
This is a letterpress poster (my favorite kind), produced by Sugru, makers of a “fixing” adhesive. The poster is lovely, and I am sure the adhesive is miraculous, but these words…they have stayed with me all week. In fact, they inspired us to pull out the duct tape, the epoxy, the hammer, the screw driver. It inspired me to fix up a room, and I suspect it’s what fueled Steve to clean out the garage. While it also inspired some under-the-breath exasperation (“I can’t fix this thing, it’s a piece of cheap plastic s**t”), we’ve been walking around the house, looking for things to fix and proudly announcing (cue James Earl Jones voice), “I am a fixer.”
And we are. We all are. We are fixers of things, of places, of relationships, of ideas. Fixers of life.
Fixing requires accepting imperfection, and appreciating the texture of wear and tear, scrapes and scratches. It makes us proud, to be able to say “This is mine, and I value it enough to make it better.” It’s patina (though some of it really is cheap plastic s**t), not perfection.
Steve, especially, comes from a tradition of men who build and women who mend. When we moved into this house twenty years ago, his dad helped him build a real workbench, because every dad has one, you know. My dad has two. The workbench is where you put your broken stuff, and Dad fixes it. Alex’s cleats were regular visitors to Steve’s workbench, and he would glue the toe guard (for pitching) a few times every season. We break lots of stuff here, so there are no shortages of fixables.
Our moms mended our clothes, fixed our buttons, sewed on knee patches. Remember those? They fixed us with food, and still do (though my mom and I share the belief that most things can be fixed with wine). When I was sick, Mom fixed me with her cool hand on my forehead that I can still feel. And while Mom and I had some tricky times when I was a teen, she knows the right words now, as we fix stuff together.
I’ve been thinking about fixing “stuff” and trying to find ways to fix more and buy less. But I’ve also been thinking about fixing places, especially as my friend Robb runs for Davis City Council and my commitment to support him. We’ve worked on fixing our business, while the recession, industry changes, and our own self-induced obsolescence provided a perfect storm of challenging years (and I do think we’ve been somewhat successful in renewing what we do really well). We’ve made a real effort to use (and enjoy) every piece of food that comes into our home, appreciating the work that got it to our table in the first place, and making a feast out of leftovers (again with the wine). And today, I’ve been thinking about fixing relationships. Not changing them. But accepting them, loving them, and mending them just a little bit. Family, especially.
Happy Thanksgiving, and may you have the opportunity to glue, mend, and nurture what’s important to you. It’s what we have, imperfections and all. What we value, we can tend to, and make better.
PS. You can buy the poster (plus a pink pen for editing, and the Sugru adhesive) here.