Monday, January 23, 2006
Have You Downgraded Recently?
This week I was in the store. I needed some new razors. In case you're not up to speed on the latest razor technology, I'll tell you what's out there. There's the Mach 3, a 3 bladed razor, which is what I was using. And there's the Mach 3 Turbo, which has a lotion strip I think, and then there's the Mach 3 PowerMax or something like that, which I hadn't seen before. This one really freaked me out because it has a button on the top that makes it vibrate. I mean, this thing is vibrating hard. It almost hurt my hand to hold it! I guess the idea is that the vibe-motion gets the beard hair better. And next to all that was the Quattro, with 4 blades. Upon further research when I got home I discovered the Quattro not only promises a clean shave, but an entirely new lifestyle! And they were so expensive, about 1200 yen for 4 razor heads.
Now, for those of you who haven't met me, I am not exactly hairy. My best attempts at facial hair growth (while in the Peace Corps) resulted in a fine wispy halo of hair around my jaw, and an ugly moustache! I was standing there thinking, what do I need 3 razor blades on one razor for? Sure, I like a clean shave, but this is getting ridiculous. Next year they'll probably come out with something with 5 blades that also harvests wheat. That's when, out of the corner of my eye, down at ankle level, I saw the Gillette Sensor. That was the first razor I ever had, in high school. It had 2 blades and it worked great. Not much has changed about my facial hair since high school. And the Sensor came with more blades for half the price. And it looks cool. Kind of art deco design. I bought it, and threw out my old Mach 3.
It was a freeing experience, to actually downgrade something in a world that is always pushing the newest model. Try it this month, find some small thing that is complicating your life and choose a simpler option.
In Buddhism, there is a lot of talk of the "middle path." The Buddha is famous for rejecting a life of princely luxury, but he also rejected the overly austere life of the ascetic. The Buddhist prescription for happiness revolves around navigating between these extremes, and my little razor, with more than 1 blade, and less than 3 (or 4), is a reminder to me of that each time I see it in my bathroom.
***Update, February 7, 2006. I am not kidding, just three weeks after I wrote this blog Gillette started selling it's next-gen razor, the Fusion. Also, I ran across this Onion article from 2 years ago that predicted the whole thing. (May not be suitable for kids)