Know The Difference?

I remember as a wee lad hearing my maternal grandmother speak of someone saying, "He doesn't know sshhhtt from Shinola." She had a way of saying THAT word (not Shinola; the other one) where there was no mistaking what she was saying and yet it didn't seem to be the real, dirty word.


I remember feeling well on my way to mature manhood because, at probably no more than eight years-old, I knew the difference between the two.

I remember my "Nan" as she was known, threatening to "backhand me across the room" on several occasions, but she never did; as in, "David Lee if you don't stop drumming on that table I'm going to backhand you across this room." There were numerous switchings however with limbs from the elm tree in her front yard, but still we knew we were loved unconditionally.

I remember "sassing" her, once, to very near her breaking point.  We had walked in her house from playing outside. "David Lee is that dog sshhtt on your shoes?!" I looked and replied, "We'll it's not Shinola."

If you're not familiar with this pithy little colloquialism, or even if you are, check out this father / "son" talk from the movie The Jerk.  

I hadn't thought of Shinola in years, that is until I ran across a brave new venture in Detroit, Michigan. When I read about this new company, I wondered if they knew "sshhtt from Shinola." Turns out they did. They actually purchased the rights to the Shinola name from the now defunct shoe polish company.

Not only have these brave souls started a company named Shinola, in Detroit, of all places, but it is a watch-making company. Do these people know that watches are being made in Asian and Middle-Eastern countries for pennies? In fact, most "Swiss" watches are made in China. 

"Lest anyone doubt that the watches it makes are Swiss, watchmaker Swiss Mountaineer emblazons Switzerland’s national flag on the dial of each timepiece. Does it matter that except for their Swiss movement, the watches’ components are made at a factory in Shenzhen, China? Or that Swiss Mountaineer is owned by a Hong Kong company called Golden Hawk? Under Swiss rules that are as precise as its clockworks, Golden Hawk can label its watches Swiss-made as long as at least 50 percent of the value of the movement comes from Switzerland." from the New York Times

Shinola, the company, is going to be fun to watch (no pun intended). I think it is a wonderful thing that young entrepreneurs are creating a company that makes extremely well-made products in the heart of industrial America. And it's not just watches. Shinola is also making bicycles and leather goods, AND shoe polish--how could they not. Please know that I am not being paid or compensated in any way to endorse Shinola, but just as I could from a very young age, I can discern the crappy from the cool, and this new Shinola is cool indeed. Check them out at The Shinola Story.