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On sharpening frogs; or, Crockham’s Razor

I shave with a mildew-encrusted Gillette, changing my blade about every three months. The blades work well long after their suggested shelf life, and I enjoy the feeling of getting one over on King Gillette.

And yet… The gradual dulling of a razor blade is a classic frog-boil. I register no change at all between each shave, but by the time I replace an old blade it’s a long way past its prime – so far, in fact, that the first shave with a new blade feels like a kind of slippery miracle.

It’s like this with so many things. Go on long enough without stopping and not only does the blade get dull (which you know it will), but you also forget what sharp feels like: the joyful ease of use, the delightful outcome, the day-long smugness of a chin well-shaved. Our senses and our vision of what’s possible get dulled along with our tools.

This is clearly the case when we don’t get enough sleep, food and exercise… It’s also true of the contents of our wardrobes, the tidiness of our homes and workspaces, our attitudes and the state of our relationships.

There’s always a balance to be stuck, of course, and some kind of scheduled survey and maintenance might be the best way to find it.

Sharp and blunt. Chalk and cheese.

Which frogs do you need to sharpen?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...

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