The essential ‘things’ in life

Published 2:36 pm Saturday, August 2, 2008

I am purging myself and my house of “things.”

You know, “stuff,” “odds and ends,” “bits and pieces,” “junk,” “dust bunny-collectors.”

I’m having a garage sale today. I’m practically giving it all away. It’s all going. Furniture, clothes, assorted computer parts, books, wall-hangings, kitchenware, that horrible old life-sized Santa Claus from my grandma that smells like mold, the hideous angel figurines someone got me for a present. I don’t even care; I just want to be detached from my “stuff.”

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I’m just sick of all the clutter, the needless space-fillers. Notice how you just have to have something — whether it be a gadget, appliance, utensil, whatever — and after the initial high of the buy is over, it’s easily forgotten, only to be replaced by the next “thing?”

Or worse, the odd assortment of Christmas gifts from relatives you hang on to out of guilt? But maybe that’s another column.

As a society, I think our obsession with things is kind of sad. I think we seek short-term enjoyment or satisfaction when we should be searching for happiness elsewhere. It’s expensive, greedy and really just kind of pitiful.

This is not to say I have completely washed myself of stuff-loving. If you want to buy me a car to replace mine, which will reach its 100,000-mile mark in the next month, go right ahead.

In other news, Time magazine had a great article July 14 about a topic I’m so sick of I could throw up: gas prices. Please, stop it already! Complaining is pointless!

Their article, however, had a refreshing twist — “10 things you can like about $4 gas.”

Making the list were: “globalized jobs return home;” “sprawl stalls;” “four-day workweeks;” “less pollution;” “more frugality;” “fewer traffic deaths;” “cheaper insurance;” “less traffic;” “more cops on the beat;” and “less obesity.” Some were obvious, others were just theories. But really, the incessant grumbling is ridiculous. Buying a tank-sized SUV and then griping about filling up draws no sympathy from me.

We love our cars (and pickups, SUVs and mini-vans). I know — and I’m sure you do to — many, many people who would rather drive two blocks to their destination than walk it. Rain or shine, cold or hot, it doesn’t matter. Cushy seats win over pounding the pavement any day.

Try and educate the public as you might, but we as a whole love our gas, and boy, does it show — in wallets, on credit card statements, from poor attitudes and by the size of our waistlines.