I bought a baseball the other day. The lengths I went to get it were more than one might expect, seeing as how Baseball is out of season. I finally managed to find one right near Fenway Park, an obvious place to buy a ball really.
There’s something intrinsically and inexplicably soothing about holding it. I’ve been tossing it to myself for the last two hours without even thinking about it and I miss it if I’ve set it down somewhere. It’s something that demands to be held and admired. Its appeal is pronounced and unavoidable. And I think I’ve finally figured out what it is.
It is an object that is perfectly executed. It has been designed and tweaked and re-designed and re-tweaked time and time again over over two hundred years. It is what it is supposed to be and it does it perfectly. There is no going back to the drawing board, because it has been there and back already. The materials will change once they develop a new synthetic leather or stitching that never breaks; but on a fundamental level, it’s a finished product.
The baseball is not unique in this. If you’ve ever held a knife that’s balanced and honed or driven a sports car or used a Kindle, I’ve no doubt that you’ve experienced a similar sensation. It’s the sensation of using something that is not going to get any better. It’s the sensation of using something that has been tested and tried and defined a million times over. You’re using something that will not get better because it can not get better. It has reached its peak and when you encounter something like that, then it’s hard to let go of it.