Tag Archives: comfort

“To Seek Simplicity Rather Than Sophistication.”

5 Sep

I don’t like to come across too profound; I find it rather silly… too easy… and rather insincere. I find that to also be the case in other parts of my life. I can appreciate the fancy car, the formal tea time, the Persian rug… but I fear it is wasted on me.

Which is why this is Maxim #5 – and I read it on the side of the tea mug at a restaurant in Greensboro, North Carolina. (That’s how specific my memory works sometimes.) It seemed profound enough that I wrote it down and it has stuck in my head enough to become another of my maxims. Because there is so many ways it can be applied.

I always chalk this up to the fact that I grew up in rural Illinois, but when I say that, people might think I grew up on a farm. No, I grew up as a “townie” in a place with 4,000 people. The bigger city was a half-hour drive away, the regional center was an hour. So we were rather limited in our ways to be sophisticated. I thought Chinese food was Chow Mein, bagels were bready doughnuts, and I could listen to opera I didn’t understand on Saturday afternoons.

That being said, we had a strangely robust arts program for a small town. We were exposed to a lot of good drama, music, and art. All of our teachers were award winning in their field. Mr. Nesti was frequently had the back page of Art and Man magazine, which was a high school visual arts magazine that was given out to kids. We didn’t know that that was highly competitive and that our teacher was that good!

Sure, I could listen to opera and felt rather smug about that, but I was far more impressed when our choir teacher had us listen to Les Miserables. Then I also got to travel to Cedar Rapids and actually see it with the rest of my class! Now that I’m older, I realize it’s a musical… it’s not meant to be high art, it’s meant to be a enjoyable mass market production.

And is that so wrong? Sure, I could watch the “Red, White, and Blue” French art film trilogy and probably be completely bored and wonder why I wasted six hours doing that. I don’t seek out drama because I feel there’s enough drama in my life. I seek out comedy and comfort… sure, I’ll actually get a nice Persian rug or watch a dramatic something (usually with the wife), but what’s wrong with beer and a baseball game?

So I learned that I can appreciate sophisticated things (whiskey, especially), but I rarely enjoy them, and unless I’m really interested in the subject, I don’t feel the need to take the time to cultivate an interest. Therefore, I’ve learned that I don’t have to seek these things out to make myself feel better; the Camenbert cheese may be out of my price range, but the Swiss is right there.

Do you agree with me? Have you found that cultivating an interest in something is far more worthwhile? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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