Like gondoliers on rooftops, we have to wonder from time to time, just what we're doing here. And I'm talking about the first world, know-where-our-next-meal's-comin'-from we. Hungry third-world types are off the hook. And I have no idea who's in the second world, or where to find it. No, I'm talking to myself, and those like me, with two cars and a garage to put 'em in, motorcycles and boats and vcr's and dvd's and ira's and nbc's. I'm talking about renting storage units to keep our STUFF. I'm talkin' about running huge diesel tractors to grow sunflower seeds to feed the birds so we can feel good about our ecological awareness.
What the hell are WE doing on this earth? I write this after looking at ad's for things I want, but have no need for, for several hours. Yachtworld.com, stuff like that. I look at competing species, and find that the pack rat is running in such a distant second place that he should withdraw. Oh, he's mildly acquisitive, but please - he likes a bit of shiny stuff, but has never enslaved anyone to mine diamonds for him. He has no snowmobile or 4x4. Not only doesn't he use fossil fuels, he doesn't use ANY, aside from what he eats. No, I think the planet would be doing just fine if pack rats and rattlesnakes were its big problems.
We, on the other hand, seem impossible to satisfy. And when we can't find what we think we need, we see therapists who drive Mercedes'. Preachers in Armani. Bankrupcy lawyers in Gold Coast suites. Spend a few hundred thou to educate the kids we never had time for. Sit at computers ranting on our blogs about the sorry state of the world today. Plan a trip to the mountains, the seashore, the mall. Of course, we can't go dressed like THIS, can we?
Do I have a point here? Well, that IS my point, of course - but I have to suppose that it's not by coincidence that I'm writing this as we enter the most sacred season of consumerism. Yes, I will be shopping for those near and dear, in the vague hope that yet more stuff will draw us closer, that I'll see that little glint in your eye one more time, that we'll be HAPPY. But if you don't shop for me, I think I'll be alright. Maybe we'll share a meal, or a drink, or a thought.
- Ralph Murre