During the auction at which our fellow auction-goer asked me why I had dropped out of the bidding, I told him why I had done so: and he went off to inspect his purchase. He soon came back and said, "You call that a hairline? You can't find a crock that old without a crack or two like that!"
This auction-goer is my elder by a decade or perhaps more: so of course I hung my head, admitted my error in not compelling him to pay more for the crock, and in subsequent auctions made sure to make him pay a goodly amount for any stoneware with a crack in it. Ever since, he has gazed upon me with a kindly, paternal air. I have made him pay one hundred, two hundred dollars for crocks with hairlines, and as a consequence I am nearly his son and stand in line to inherit his holdings of hairlines.
Not that he will have any left -- hairlines, I mean, as opposed to hairline -- because he buys the things to sell at a profit. Monetarily speaking. I buy the things to employ for profit -- a profit of more personal dimension. I will be guilty of buying to sell at a monetary profit with regards to stoneware crocks one of these days. The problem is that a crock really worth buying is worth keeping and using. Otherwise it seems hard to regard it as really worth buying.