Monday, October 5, 2015

Less is More

Well, it's college time in a college town, and every store – Home Depot, Target, McGuckins, you name it – is writhing with douchebags and their children. I waited about 20 minutes to purchase 16 screws, as a woman in her late 40's back-talked condescendingly to an associate at McGuckin's who was trying to explain to her the purpose of anchors to support anything you're hanging on a wall. "Well I've never done this before," she snapped, "and you didn't tell me anything about this just a moment ago."  In truth, she spent so much time criticizing the man's approach to explaining a process to her, that it was apparent how none of the instruction was actually making it into her head.  The man got to a point where he leaned on a nearby shelf and stared blankly at the floor with each criticism.

Ma'am, you've never hung anything in a wall? What the hell are you going to do when ISIS is running the neighborhood, or if there's a sharknado? And, between you and your bound-to-be-indoctrinated [sorry, I meant educated] child with access to the world-wide web through smartphone, ...you wouldn't be able to figure it out?

Doters and coddlers whirring to and fro leaving retail shelves barren of all the expendables -- all the junk which the children readily have at home, but they're bought a second set of... Because the game of life is about more: don't accept unnecessary losses or take unnecessary risks, or expend unnecessary effort... when you can just take: more. No one wants to expend the effort or expense to move all their junk -- which is interesting in and of itself.

It's interesting that, in a rather liberal school where there are plenty of opportunities to sign up for groups and committees and take classes with regard to politics, economics, preserving the environment, Asian slave-like labor conditions, our carbon footprint, etc. -- all of these things which 20-somethings speak so passionately about changing -- consumer mayhem is unleashed by this demographic/horde every year, which contributes to the preservation of all of it. Go through the stores and see what's not there this-coming week: expendable alarm clocks, charger, mirrors, shelving, computer hardware, blankets & bedding, bathroom amenities, cooking wares, and the obligatory Bob Marley poster/T-shirt/tapestry/bumper sticker/toaster -- all that stuff you can't imagine they didn't have the prior week, or at home.

I say, if you want to do one of the best thing ever for any of the above socio-political situations, close retail markets to freshman.

The parental coddling is sweet, in a way: certainly there are many many kids who never see that. But in another way, it reeks of a lack of trust in their own creation of a person, and begs the question: "All these years, what role have you played in the development of a person such that you're spinning around them at age 18 or 19 with the same tenacity and hyper-focus as when you had to check their diapers?" What level of parental confidence does that show in their child's ability to problem solve, be resourceful, and independent?

From economist E.F. Schumacher's "Small is Beauitful", 1973: