Lucky Stuffed Penguin

You have too much stuff.

It’s the truth…don’t argue with me.

Your collection of limited-edition Burger King Empire Strikes Back glassware has overrun your shelf space and at least five of your remote controls have been lost in the shadowy recesses of the leather couch that was ever-so fashionable before the cat discovered it was the ultimate scratching post. You only see your lucky stuffed penguin on the rare occasions that you summon the courage to dig toward the back of your closet to find your bowling shoes”¦ and you KNOW that there’s at least one place in your house that can only be accessed by turning and shuffling sideways like you’re going through one of those narrow secret passages you always see in the movies…only, the walls that you’re walking between are made of old National Geographic magazines and tubs full of video cassettes that you’ve been meaning to sort through on a rainy day that has yet to arrive.

You have magazines and newspapers stacked in piles all over the place and mixed inside those piles are mail order catalogs full of even MORE stuff you could order through the mail to continue this never-ending experiment to fill your house completely full of STUFF. You sit there and flip through page after page of useless gizmos that you badly want and hardly need; the “new” smell of fresh plastic and rubber and wood and whatever else the darned thing is made of floats off the page and into your imagination, gently beckoning you to pick up the phone and dial that 800 number that they’ve conveniently sprinkled on every page.


Am I the only one who’s having this problem?

Well, I think that I finally saw the light this year.

I finally realized that as long as I’m alive, they’ll keep making NEWER and BETTER stuff. I can never own the Ultimate Thing™, because two years from now, just when the one I bought is starting to show a little wear, they’ll introduce a New & Improved Deluxe Ultimate Thing™ (as seen on TV) and BANG! Mine will be old. It’s like when you go the final farewell tour for a rock and roll band then five years later they come back through town on their second farewell tour.

There will always be brighter, shinier, zippier toys. You couldn’t afford them before and you know you can never have them all. So what can you do to quench that desire?

I think that I have an answer.

Have you ever been to Since you’re using a computer I will assume that you’ve heard of the place. It’s like going to the mall, only on your computer. You can shop from home, wearing your pajamas and laying in bed (this is easiest if you have a laptop). For the longest time I only went to Amazon to find things and order them; I was in and out, lickety-split. But recently I started paying more attention to something called my Wish List.

It’s fantastic.

It’s lets me wander around looking at everything that Amazon offers, and anytime that I find something that I simply can’t do without I just click the button that says “Add To My Wishlist”? and blammo, it’s on there. It makes me feel like I’ve bought something, but I don’t have to worry about paying for it, storing it or tripping over it in the middle of the night when I get up to pour myself a glass of water. I sometimes go back and flip through the things I’ve already picked out and reminisce about how cool some of the things are and how neat it is that I have them on MY list.

Collecting for free.

Sure, I don’t get to read it, smell it, eat it, wear it, listen to it, watch it or play with it, but I still feel like I HAVE it somehow. I can go look at it anytime I feel like it.

I’m not trying to promote Amazon or their website, and I’m fully aware that their computers are somehow using the data that they collect from me to take over the world… but my Wish List is far too therapeutic to let me worry about those things.

Life is too short and I have far more important things to worry about.

For instance, what was my lucky stuffed penguin(**) doing in front of my computer while I was gone for Thanksgiving?

I may never know.

Hope this helps somebody!

Your Pal,

** The “lucky stuffed penguin” mentioned in the article above is a fictional device I created to make a point and end the story. I’ve never HAD a lucky stuffed penguin and wouldn’t know one if it walked up and bit me on the ass. Sorry for any confusion this may have created. Especially for those of you who believed in the penguin.

And for using the word “ass”.


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