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In The Real World

In The Real World

Hello and good day!

I see the same man every day. He's out there limping around in front of the grocery store up the sidewalk from our chocolate shop. He works in the grocery store as a cashier. With each step he grimaces in pain, the poor guy.

I once asked him about his limp, and he told me that he was in a car accident as a kid. The crash caved in his hip, and it never healed correctly. Doctors have been looking at it for years, but they've always determined that the way in which the hip collapsed made it inoperable. There was no way to do a hip replacement.He's soldiered on with that awful limp for more than 30 years.

However, due to recent surgical innovations this good man can now have his hip replaced. This gentleman is a tall, forty something African American man, with corn roll braids, a deep DJ voice, and a southern drawl. When he talks, the base from his voice reverberates in your ear and the slow drawl is smooth.

It is a pleasure to hear him talk. "Adam, I want to tell you something," he said to me the other day. "I'm getting my hip fixed in a few weeks."

"Is that right?" I asked."Yeah, they finally figured it out. I told my son I'm still fast enough to whip him in a race once I get done with physical therapy."

All I could do was shake my head and put my hand on his shoulder. "That is the best news my friend, congrats." He flashed a big old smile. We fist bumped and walked off in opposite directions.

Yesterday, a regular customer came in to our chocolate store wearing a compression glove. I couldn't contain my curiosity and I asked about it. She just had wrist surgery. They put a titanium rod in her arm.

I asked her how she felt. "Never better," she said. She can use her hand again.

A few days back, I spoke with my brother about his recent trip to Peru. He said that the barren northern coastal deserts are currently covered with green plant life. What is normally dry lifeless sand is now a fertile garden.

It is well known that the land out there is fertile. But it almost never rains. However, this year it has rained heavily on the desert, creating a unique and beautiful landscape.

Unfortunately, there is no infrastructure in the desert for draining large amounts of water. People out there don't even have proper roofs. They use hay and dry leaves to protect their houses from the sun. Lack of drainage has created vast pools of sitting water. Sitting water is spawning a rapid proliferation of mosquitoes and the mosquitoes are causing a dengue fever outbreak.

There are 130,000 reported cases of dengue fever over the last couple of weeks and several hundred deaths. The hospitals weren't prepared and there is no vaccine for dengue in Peru. It is becoming a medical emergency, and the rains are expected to be even stronger later this year.

Meanwhile, Apple just announced the release of a contraption called Apple Vision Pro. It is a computer you wear on your face, inside of sunglasses. Your entire perception of the world will be filtered through an Apple product.

An informative thing to do is watch a TV show that came out back in the 1990's. It doesn't feel like it, but the 1990's were 30 years ago. Three decades of technological innovation have been unleashed on the world since then.

Yet if you watch a show from the 1990's, the world looks exactly the same, except that computers and smartphones are missing. Very little has actually changed. Food still comes from the ground, same as always. Weather is still stronger than humanity, same as always. Health, relationships, and purpose are the keys to a good life, same as always.

Good chocolate requires genetically superior cacao, impeccable post-harvest processing, and a thoughtful roasting profile, same as always.

Screens we carry around are primarily for entertainment. Isn't it enough that we have entertainment in our pockets everywhere we go? Now we need to have it in front of our eyes at all times?

Maybe I'm becoming crochety, but I just can't see how even more access to entertainment will make the world a better place.

On the other hand, it is very easy to see how improved hip surgery greatly benefits the world. What's better?Eliminating chronic pain or watching videos 24/7?

Having a newsfeed in your peripheral while you run errands or a dengue vaccine? Better sewage infrastructure or knowing what a celebrity just said? Following every detail of an indictment trial or finally having that foot race with your son?

The interesting thing about capitalism is that it isn't a system of ethics. It is a system of production, the most efficient system of production yet discovered. It churns out great quantities of what people want.

Not what they say they want, but what they really want, as evidenced by how they spend their money.

Want porn and drugs and shallow entertainment? You'll get it.

Want better roads and better medicine? The latter requires exercising thrift, forgoing trivial purchases, and spending money on things that will truly improve our standard of living. If a lot of people begin to exhibit these preferences, more resources will flow into those channels.

Each of us has a choice to make. Our actions reveal our true desires and talk is cheap.  

Thankfully for our company, enough people care about good chocolate and a supply chain that benefits the wonderful people who grow cacao. If enough of you all didn't care about that, we wouldn't be here.

Sorry for getting on a soapbox today. I don't think I'm ready to see people walking around with computer sunglasses. I may ban them in our retail locations as I think they'd ruin the experience we try to create.

Thank you for your time today.

I hope that you have a truly blessed day!