By: Michael Lenoch
Every time I have purchased virtually anything, I have felt some degree of remorse. Be that a far cry from my bohemian roots, or how I grew to perceive the world and distinguish the value of hard-earned money, I am what one may call a "Saducee".
For all my life I have thought in terms of extremes. Take a car for example, and what young boys hope to one day do with them: to customize or upgrade. I envisioned any number of modestly priced cars I hoped to one day assume from the standpoint of a ten-year-old, fully decked out in anything from improved exhaust systems, to mildly necessary body kits, purely for cosmetic and unique purposes. The other side of the spectrum exposes one of my core values as well. By the earlier end of my teenager years (which are currently in progress), I hoped [and still do] to move to Germany, and to appreciate what truly matters in life, outside all of the glamour and glitz that occupies our unquestionably secular lives. Sure, I do in fact take time to relax in my backyard, not only by playing soccer, but also taking my dog on walks throughout the unadulterated plot of 8.8 acres of land that sits alongside the yard. At the United States' core, essentially every citizen has the ambition to achieve that particular person's ideal extent of wealth or success. This is not a negative thing per se, but capitalism does indeed by its very nature, promote an expansionist-like ambition in many of the workers that blissfully reside within it. To provide a concrete example, imagine the 8.8 acre plot of land that sat near my backyard. Sadly, within a few years, that very plot of land could very well be gobbled up by some young and inspiring real estate agent trying to get a buck or two. Therein lies on a microcosmic level, how as populations across the world grow, "vacant", or otherwise wildlife-inhabited parts of the world will continue to diminish.
Recently, I took the time to very briefly snoop my sister's room and view her numerous treasures that render her carpet ostensibly invisible. Lying throughout her room, which is larger than that of my own, were absurdly tall leather, and presumably expensive boots that I was shocked to witness my sister's possession of them. Over the past few years, day after day, my family's computer's Internet Explorer tabs would be occupied by Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus, and Free People shopping carts, ready to buy hundred-dollar shoes, boots, jewelry, dresses, skirts, and God knows what else. This is in all my expressible honesty, a travesty to use the fewest possible words of the English language. I ask for so little from my parents, yet day after day, my sister inevitably will insist on them ordering her a new article of clothing online, or them dropping her off at a high-profile, opulent mall, that mind you, is not what one would call "close".
But from a different perspective, this circumstance can be viewed as healthy for me. As I witness my own sister ask for anything that will supposedly lead to her heart's content, I know that having such a materialistic outlook on life is bound to lead to failure or ultimate discontent. By asking for such an innumerable amount each month, my father begins to think he is buying my sister love. Saying "thank you" in most cases is an empty gesture, devoid of meaning or spirit. I haven't the slightest clue as to how my father would understand a "thank you" or even a sign of appreciation, such as a smile, or a gasp of excitement as she would witness the package for the first time as a gesture of love. I think as of late, my sister's unreasonable desire for clothing and accessories has somewhat slowed, and my father has realized taking out checks for things that truly are not quite so important in life are not top-priority.