Portrait of the Artist as a Man
February 1, 2015

Shiny Things on Occasion.

[Bunny Rope][http://bunnyrope.com\] is vending this weekend so I have been busy, if not industrious, these last few days. I’m still thinking about Frugality which is especially useful as I am making money while being surrounded by all sorts of shines things I’d like to buy.

The vendors across from me firge iron and steel gear. I had been mostly avoiding it but [Alyska][http://Alyska.tumblr.com\], Enabler Extraoridinaire, found some Damascus steel throwing knives they make and, knowing I enjoy knife throwing, brought them over to me to oogle. And yesterday, during a lull, I went to the second vendor room to see their goods - all the leather and wood gear was there, including my favorite [Katana Works][http://katanaworks.com\] who has done some custom work for me in the past. He is selling a beautiful red and black bullwhip. I walked away when I saw it but at the end of the vending night, Alyska asked Katana to let me throw it a bit while the classrooms were empty. (1)

Those who are most successful with virtues regarding abstaining from over-indulgence - temperance, frugality, chastity - are most successful when they avoid temptation all together. It’s pretty obvious math - less exposure to things that tempt you means less indulgence. I had been doing ok by hiding behind the guise of vending to stay away from the shinies.

In all practicality, you can avoid everything you would otherwise do but there are a few small things that help. We all know that having a grocery list and not shopping hungry can reduce the chance you return home with six pounds of cheese balls and a gallon of frosting for dinner. Research, planning, lists and understanding the differences between your wants and needs can inform your frugality calculus.

The hardest to survive is the random confrontation.

Well, in certain categories at least. It is pretty difficult to justify buying throwing knives or bullwhips on any day despite having hobbies that use them. It is much harder when confronted with, say, two cuts of meat of differing grades you were planning to make for dinner. Is the nicer cut worth the extra cost? Is it worth twice it? Thrice it?

These are the standard dilemmas that can throw everyone off their game. And the calculus is different for every person. In the dinner case, I’ll buy the nicer cut if I’m just pan frying a steak, but the cheaper cut if I’m braising or pressure cooking it. Alyska woukd nearly always choose the less expensive cut because the cost rarely accounts for enough difference in flavor or tenderness.

Neither answer is wrong. It is a matter of weight of variables.

And in the end, living like an aesthete isn’t for most people. Allowing yourself the occasional nice steak keeps you happy especially if it won’t break the bank.

Franklin’s thirteen virtues are a guide to happiness, betterment, freedom from debt. They are a tool to help you find yourself, the time to enjoy yourself, without letting your life go off the rails. The American Colonial Enlightenment surrounded understanding the intersection of personal happiness and civic duty with both avenues necessary to get to a better person and better society.

At no point in these roads does it say a pit stop in indulgence is a bad idea.

Just don’t let the engine rust closed when you’re taking in the view.

  1. I had just the day before tried Spike’s hybrid whips and am thoroughly convinced that waxed paracord whips are a travesty for whip patterns outside of the sunbelt. Katana’ sis an unwaxed 5ft whip in red and black with a maple (I think) turned handle. It is so much faster than even my stockwhip which is supposed to be the fastest style.

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Industry Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. The modern equivalent to Franklin’s virtue of Industry is