Monday, January 4, 2021

Things we have but never use

    These days, with ubiquitous cell phones and wide service coverage, a landline phone in most areas is about as necessary as a third sneaker, but many of us still cling to them. Likewise, with sharp and versatile smartphone photography and videography readily available in a pocket, only serious pros need digital cameras, but how many of us have one in a custom accessory bag getting dusty on a shelf?  I have two, one of them in an expensive bag full of 35 mm film equipment. Those digital photo frames are a great idea, but of the billions of photos we take every year, how many get preserved in them? Mine is empty while my phone is nearing capacity. Everybody has a few USB flash drives around with enough collective storage space for the entire estimated four million words (true) of the IRS code. I have one shaped like Snoopy that sits decoratively by my computer desk lamp with not a single byte in him. And how many unused apps and games are living on your electronic devices?

    I suspect a high percentage of gym memberships get contracted shortly after New Year’s Day as righteous resolutions. People attend faithfully for a while, then less and less often. Some buy their own exercise machines and devices that eventually get shunted aside in a garage or attic as expensive abodes for web-building spiders. Many bicycles share the same fate.

    Nothing is quite so inviting as spending a day out on a lake or river or offshore in your own boat, a pricey adult toy, but the friendly sales folk don’t tell you about the endless necessary accessories or the lengthy voyage preparation checklists or the post-voyage cleaning chore. Or the frequent high-dollar maintenance. Or the insurance. Or the gallons of fuel burned per mile. Or the sunburns and the pop-up thunderstorms. So, after the initial christening cruise and a few following jaunts, many boats spend most of their days tied up in marinas or sitting forlornly on their trailers in back yards.

     Unused children’s toys have a way of accumulating faster than senior citizen birthdays. Likewise, many musical instruments purchased for offspring and the rest of the family have not been plucked, tooted, fingered, or percussed for years. And how about all those pet toys our dogs and cats now disdain?

    Remember that slicer/dicer/chopper/juicer you saw at the state fair and simply had to have because it could cut tomatoes thin enough to see through and would help you lose ten pounds? Where is it now? You’ll find it stored away with all the pizza tools and the whole-banana-in-one-stroke slicer, and the cocktail shaker and the fondue set and the bread maker and the flower vases in various sizes.

     Most of us have monthly magazines we don’t read, cookbooks we rarely consult, extended warranties we didn’t need, yard and board games we don’t set up, and fancy clothing we never wear.

    All those things we once thought we needed fill our sheds and attics and garages and closets and drawers and computer files. But I’m betting you won’t stop buying even more such bright and shiny and seductive things.

    I confess right now that I probably won’t.

    This is America, after all, and I’m only human.


Start the New Year off with some exciting reading. Try the thriller novel series Guns, Diamondback, Kllrs, and Deathsman, set in the misty folds of the Great Smokies and endorsed by top gun bestselling authors Lee Child, Ridley Pearson, and Stephen Coonts. Available in print or Kindle from Amazon.


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