"" bshawise: Wassiliness

Monday, July 21, 2008


Stumbled across this photo today of the Wassily Chair. It's a classic. Designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-26. A chair worth marveling (some museums do) for it's revolutionary materials and manufacturing back in the day. My friends Sydne and Brad own this chair. I saw it in their basement with my own eyes. Their three year old, Will, was using it as a trampoline/step stool to play air hockey. Many goals have been scored with the assist going to Breuer's modernist work of art.

I remember collecting baseball cards as a kid. We'd buy Beckett's guide and figure out what they were worth. We'd dream of one day retiring on the sale of our Ken Griffey Jr. UpperDeck rookie card. I can remember telling my dad my Griffey was up to $45 and him saying, "Only if somebody buys it." That made zero sense to us. Beckett told us how much our cards were worth in black and white. It said nothing of having to find a buyer.

Collectibles are a funny thing. My initial reaction when I saw young Will bouncing barefoot on the Wassily was to snatch him mid-bounce and run off with the chair to the nearest museum so it could be properly admired. But maybe it already was. Maybe Mr. Breuer is happy (if furniture designers can be happy from the grave) that Will is using his chair to get demolished by his older brother, Rob, in air hockey. Happier than if it were sitting empty in a dust-free, art zoo.

I guess collectibles are great if they're enjoyed in the present tense. Sterilizing and preserving things for a future pay day is fine as long you really enjoy the sterilization process. My dad was smart to minimize the monetary "worthiness" of our baseball cards. Kids shouldn't worry about investments. The future is for old people.

Someday, maybe I'll take my kids to the Reds game where an arthritic Junior is being inducted into the hall of fame and I'll brag about how I owned his rookie card when I was a kid. We'll eat cotton candy and laugh about how they could go to college if I knew where that card was. And maybe someday, when Will is grown up, he'll take a young lady to a museum where the Wassily Chair is on display. Perhaps he'll put his arm around her and brag about his reckless air hockey days with that chair. His cool apathy towards material goods will sweep the young lady off her feet and they'll go get their first of many italian ices together.


Christopher Day said...

Italian ice if she's kinda cute. Gelato if she's drop dead gorgeous. I don't know about young Will, but that's my rule.

Sunderman said...

A Wade Boggs rookie card for a Cal Ripken Jr rookie and a pair of used Nike Bo Jackson shoes. My sales career started that day. You weren't a true collector if without trying to pull off deals like that.

bshawise said...

blockbuster deal, sunderman.

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