Q: Quality – What It’s Really Like

Q: Quality – What It’s Really Like

This post is part of a series titled, “A-B-Cs – What It’s Really Like”. Each week a new letter and its word will be revealed. Each word’s explanation will illustrate significant personal meaning, application and ultimately demonstrate, What It’s Really Like…

Traditionally when facing a major upcoming purchase I try to settle on a selection where performance meets value.  Usually there comes a point when I determine whether or not the price justifies the quality of the item.  “Quality” items generally harbor fine qualities, but not the finest.  For most, quality generally floats somewhere between the best and good enough. To me it’s more than that.

My grandmother used to have a clear drinking glass that had Morris the Cat embossed on the side of it.  (For those of you not familiar with Morris the Cat, he was the mascot for 9lives cat food back in the 1970s.)  There was an illustrated thought bubble that was pointing from Morris’ head that said, “Morris on glass is like Sterling on silver.”  Apparently, Morris felt that the quality of his drinking glass was pretty damn good.  There were three things that my grandmother was fond of: sterling silver, genuine leather (she liked to pronounce it gen-U-whiiine leather) and Tupperware.  None of which boasted the finest qualities, but quality nonetheless.   “It is better to have second hand diamonds than not at all”, she used to tell me.  I suppose those are quality words to live by.

Quality comes from the old school.  Literally.  Craftsmanship is a lost ability, even sometimes on me.  Many people do not know how to use it let alone spot it.  I occasionally tell my dad that I am disappointed in myself for not learning to be more handy and technically skilled with my hands like he is.  He has told me several times that my handy skills will be there when I need it.  I was proud of myself recently for selecting a beautiful solid oak desk from a local second hand store to replace our wobbly “L-shaped” corner desk we purchased from Staples for $75 several years ago as newlyweds.  I know that this is a quality item because the craftsmanship, detail and finish are a thing of beauty.  Plus, the thing weighs about 1,000 lbs. so there is no doubt that it was made well.  There is no substitute for quality.  They definitely don’t make them like they used to.

Speaking of the old school…as a teacher I have discovered a lost academic art is in handwriting and conversation.  The handwriting of today’s teenagers is absolutely atrocious.  Carrying on a conversation can be even worse.  So many quality learning experiences are lost to the quantity of information attempted to be absorbed by an insatiable need of a smart device.  Take a walk down any high school hallway during a class change and you will see it firsthand.  Count how many students have their heads down while they walk, glued to their cell phones with ear buds in their ears.  It’s no wonder why this new upcoming generation has been said to be on the “race to nowhere”.   It is probably no coincidence that a capital cursive ‘Q’ appears to be shaped like the number ‘2’ and that it takes two people to carry on a quality conversation.

In the baseball vernacular, when a starting pitcher completes 6 innings while allowing less than 3 runs it is known as a quality start.  As a parent, my QS% is quite low when my wife and I struggle to get our two boys out of the house each morning.   A parenting quality start should be a combination of no tears, fights (between parents or children), forgotten daily items, and making it to work on time.

Lately I have found myself asking myself about quality quite frequently.  I often wonder where I spend quality time vs. where my time is most spent.  Within that poses the question of quality of life.  Personally, where does performance meet value?  It is why some of us opt for the car wash over spending time washing by hand or why some of us choose to put a loaf of bread in the refrigerator.  The tradeoff is time spent vs. quality of life.  I guess that is why my wife and I have decided we prefer quality of life by relocating back to our hometown to be near our families.  It may also be why we likely continue to keep putting the loaf of bread in the refrigerator.  It’s all about preserving the quality of life.

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Husband. Father. Brother. Teacher. Coach. Sports fan. Weather geek. Backyard vacationer.

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