There is a wonderful bridge that I have never seen in person, with a wonderful sentiment.
"Trenton makes, the world takes."
It's a relic of a time when American working men and women made things, a time when people were able to take pride in, for example, building cars that people drove for years and made their own lives better because they had them.
We don't make things anymore, with the possible exception of a lot of crap that people don't really need.
We consume things. We are literally eating the output of the world, and in the process we're becoming the fattest, nastiest SOBs who ever walked the Earth.
We're becoming a bloated, grotesque version of H.G. Wells' Eloi, who contribute nothing to the good of mankind.
I wonder, if society were to break down tomorrow, say through a worldwide catastrophe we can hardly image now -- something as simple as EMP -- how many of us would survive for even a month.
I'm not talking about the wacky survivalists who have food stored in caves. I'm talking about the basic skills needed to survive without the many luxuries to which we have become accustomed.
If all the grocery stores vanished tomorrow, how many of us would be able to feed our families?
If money meant nothing, how many of us could provide the necessities of life?
I realize that all this sounds somewhat alarmist, but I wonder how many of us comprehend that we are at least at risk for a global economic collapse. There is more debt -- more bad paper -- floating around now than there is wealth in the world to pay it.
In our country alone, an amazing number of people work at jobs where they do nothing more than move money around or service the financial industry.
How many of us actually create things -- make things -- in our lives?
I had one summer a few years back when I had a small garden with six tomato plants. I grew 20 dozen tomatoes that summer, and I don't know if I was ever prouder of anything I had accomplished in my life.
Next spring, when my wife and I move tofor our retirement, I plan to devote half of our backyard -- it isn't a huge backyard -- to a garden. I plan to grow as many of our vegetables as I can, and I plan to learn how to can and preserve them.
I'm not preparing for an apocalypse. I just want to make myself more sufficient, more able to live off the grid if it should ever become necessary.
I want to make things.
I'm tired of just being a consumer. I have learned so much in my 11 weeks in Texas, along with losing 58 pounds and getting my blood pressure completely under control, and I want to use what I've learned to make my life -- and my wife's -- better for the experience.
I'll never build a car.
But I can grow food.
Good, healthy food.