Incidentally, one of the essay questions on this year's University of Chicago application dealt with this very subject. It mentioned the film "American Beauty," specifically the recurring footage of the plastic bag floating in the wind and the accompanying discussion, and asked the applicant to describe a similar object that held an idiosyncratic beauty in its flaws.

I wrote about the gray sofa in the corner of my favorite coffee house across from the University of Texas campus. It's soft to the point where one's butt sinks into the frame, and it's completely covered in random cigarette burns and the contents of the many ashtrays that have been spilled on it by myself and others. Somehow, disregarding its effects on our clean clothing, my friends and I always end up lounging around on that couch for hours at a time.