buying happiness

December 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

ever since my freshman year of college, i have used the same bath towels. throughout the course of two weeks, three identical blue towels were used to dry myself off after a shower. given that these towels were shabbily made to begin with, i recently decided they were unfit to use even for sudanese refugees. it seemed a good time to go buy new bath towels, especially since half of the amazon rainforest has been turned into bed bath & beyond 20% off coupons. and they have all been mailed to me.

i left the store with two large bath towels. both were a mossy shade of green and very soft. i checked to see if any cuddly creatures were skinned to make them but unfortunately, the towels are 100% cotton. i am going to perform a long term test to see if the towel that cost $18 is actually better than the $12 towel. as of tonight, both towels are plush, warm, and make drying off complete bliss. i used to fear the end of my shower because it meant chafing my entire body with blue sandpaper. give the choice between that and the pit and the pendulum, i would find the rope myself to bind my body.

the $30 i spent on towels has brought happiness into my life and this brings me to my next point, which is that money can most definitely buy happiness, despite all the adages you may have heard. now, let me first make it clear that i am not speaking towards those whose goal in life is to accumulate mansions, sports cars, and yachts. i suspect that their problem is something else altogether. i am writing about the sort of person who buys ketchup wholesale because it will save them $0.13 per ounce. yes, i am talking to the sort of person who will wait to see a friend in person to deliver mail by hand to save $0.41 of postage.

i am convinced that every time you experience displeasure in your life, the root cause is some sort of unhappiness, felt either by yourself or by the person perpetrating the upsetting act, that could be allayed by a monetary purchase of some sort. for instance, just the other day, while stuck in a typical philadelphia traffic jam, i didn’t have multiple strokes because i was listening to a great kenny g christmas album i had bought last year. and my hands were warm because i had on a warm pair of gloves. because of these small, but significantly life improving purchases, i had only one stroke.

what is the point of toiling away at your job if you are unwilling to spend your money to better your life? after a hard day’s work, you go to shoprite to buy food, but what you leave with instead is shoprite branded orange juice from concentrate and a tin of tuna fish. not even the chunky white albacore tuna, but the cheaper minced version. “they were on sale!” you’ll cry. you’ll miserably eat your supper of tuna fish and orange juice in your home, heated to a frigid 60F to save money, and go to sleep unhappy and jaundiced. this is only after taking a shower, which was cut short to save hot water, and drying off with a ratty towel that has the texture of pumice.

people who go through life this way often will defend their actions by saying something along the lines of “if i save $20 a week, over the course of ten years, the interest will have made me $10,000 richer.” well, maybe, but how much will that money be worth in a decade if you count inflation? also, what would you be doing with the $10,000 a decade from now? buying things with it to make your life less miserable? i highly doubt it because you were unwilling to spend $20 a week to go out for dinner with your friends when you were younger. you havent a hope in hell of spending a much greater amount (so you misers currently hope) later on in your life.

my glib financial advice might just sound like the rantings of an consumer, but it isnt. i understand the value of investing in a future, increasing stability for your family, and planned purchases. i am not suggesting that we all start to impulsively buy the magazines and sweets placed at the checkout aisles of grocery stores. what i am pushing for is a more realistic view of what the point of life is and how we can all happily live together. when you are happy yourself, you tend to be a better and more pleasant person, making all those around you laugh and smile.

so go ahead and turn the heat up in your apartment and splurge on that tropicana orange juice. you can consider it as a charitable and selfless act – a christmas gift to the rest of the world.


Entry filed under: commentary, life. Tags: , , , .

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