What’s the use of profit?


San Cristobal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, then maybe pipe down. I want to die (and live?) poor. But Piedmont Pine Coffins is a business, and the purpose of a business is to generate profit. What are the uses?

B-corps, donations, foundations, community action, and the rest. I’ll let you read up on them elsewhere. Though I’m thinking about those things, I’m not going to talk about them here.

Instead, here at the tail end of winter, when dreams are planted, I’ll plead an exemption.

If you’re just joining us here, you may recall that in the past I’ve begged for certain dispensations. The truth is, I’d like to enjoy them, plus a few good cigars, at various fabulous locations around the globe.

On a chaise, for example, on the white sands of Zanzibar. Holding but not eating a pulpy persimmon at Dionysios on Mt. Athos. (As if the puro could ever happen there! Would have to be bootleg.) Under a tent amongst Querétaro’s cacti or the flaming sandalwood of Varanasi. Inhaling the humid Dragon’s Breath cave vapors in Namibia’s Kalahari. Drinking wine in Bloemfontein. A stone porch in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the wood fires blending with the tobacco smoke.

I want expensive travel and I want to die poor. We are, each of us, a remarkable mix of predilections that need not coincide. Who can gainsay it? Here comes to mind my coffin joiners’ prayer. In short:

That I might fashion something worth / an unrepeatable life on this magnificent Earth.

And that my own life, taken as a whole, might be worthy of such a coffin! Yours too, and — permit me a Buddhist moment — it already is.


  1. Brooke Simmons says

    Your description of these places that I have never heard of peak my interest. You choice of words are expanding my knowledge. I had no idea that I had predilections for things or that at times I ask for dispensations. I would never gainsay the use of such vocabulary. Today you have taught me three new words. Thanks Don! Maybe one day I to with be able to inhale some Dragon’s Breath!

    • You can see I’ve been reading the travel blogs again. Some say travel is just a matter of discipline, saving, and priorities. Others (fewer) say that not everyone can, that things have to line up just right for a person. What do you think?

  2. You have confessed, and sometimes a good Confessor decides She’s accidentally discerned your next assignment.