Today is Christmas so I called my parents. Talked for a bit. My grandparents called my Mom's phone at the same time and accoustics joined the calls. We were talking about cryptocurrency and my grandpa mentioned inheritance. It got me thinking, not so much about my grandparents' possessions, but my parents'.
Forgoing the topic of inheritance entirely and looking at the material objects themselves, I am not sure I desire anything that my parents own. And that is rather odd in my mind. There is very little that is "special" or couldn't be replaced for a few dollar in a Walmart. There is an excellent stainless steel Amway cookware set and a handful of average knives. Beyond that... not much comes to mind. Even those I don't lust after to any degree. And they certainly aren't rare.
I have a cast iron pan and have been learning how to use it more effectively. What I realized is that it will be around for a very, very long time. It's entirely cast iron. Almost unbreakable under any normal use. It's so thick that even a layer of rust could be polished off and you could do that many times over before starting to run out of material.
This $10 second-hand, American made Lodge pan is actually rather impressive. It's literally something that I could hand down to my grandchildren and they'd probably hand it down again if they didn't lose it or find themselves disinterested with it.
Looking at my other pots and pans, they simply won't hold up. Even my parent's Amway set may not make it past fifty years. But this cast iron pan has no coating to wear off, no handles to break. It's just as good old as it is brand new.
Even my Italian made coated pan will likely not make it more than a few years. If the coating lasts past then, I expect the plastic handle will fail or its mount.
I think it used to be that people looked forward to their inheritance, or at least what was in it. Maybe your grandfather's set of tools or your grandmother's cookware. Something valuable that held value in time. And something unique that you couldn't just replace at the supermarket for a few dollars.
I think the longevities of products are going down more and more with few exceptions. Even the month-old plastic spatula my parents bought me is starting to fail. The plastic on the end is peeling off at the tip. Obviously a particularly cheap example, but how much better are the others? Plastic in general degrades rapidly in the sun and even outside. I've seen 5 gallon buckets that just fall apart after about five years. Becoming brittle to the point of movement causing them to break apart. Let alone plastic in the sun, maybe has a year at best depending on the type and thickness.
The products we own are depreciating more rapidly than ever. The songs on iTunes aren't even ours. Can you even resell them, unlike CDs? I think not. Will the cars and motorcycles of today be around in 20 years? 40? Will they be fixable without specialty equipment?
The sad state of affairs is that as time goes on we have less and less worth inheriting. Each Chinese item having another feature than the next but lasting not long at all. Replaced for the feeble, impatient mind.
Long live cast iron!