People go to church, buy self-help books, and inject, inhale and smoke a lot of bizarre substances looking for deeper meanings, more authentic experiences, a hint of spirituality, a touch of magic. I was drinking tequila tonight whilst talking to my mom and brother, found myself waxing philosophical after day one of my post-engagement-recovery, and decided tonight was the night for my two cents.
Here goes. Warning: Opinions expressed are not those of the network or its affiliates.
There is no life after death. Enjoy every second you’ve got, now. Tell the truth. Hug spontaneously. Say no to things that repulse you, and yes to things that scare you. Drive past Burger King and try something “furrin” instead. Buy the plane ticket. Adopt an animal from a shelter instead of buying one from a breeder. Look people in the eye when they speak. Never ask, “How are you?” without waiting for the answer. Do not envy girls who show their fake boobs off to strangers with cameras for a living.
Someone once said that if you’re an atheist, and wrong, you go to hell, whereas if you’re a Christian, and wrong, nothing happens. Ever since, otherwise intelligent people have used that as a tongue-in-cheek reason to maintain a Christian faith as an insurance policy more than a life-spirituality. I humbly suggest that even if you do find yourself in exactly the afterlife you have always imagined, will you be sorry to have lived as if you weren’t headed there?
You can’t buy happiness. You can buy the latest cell/internet/camera/microwave phone, but it won’t increase the number of friends you have to call, parties to attend, business contacts to profit from, or sexy people to have sex with. An ugly car will drive you the same places as an expensive one. Cheap jeans fit as well as celebrity brands (except Old Navy; we all agree their jeans suck).
Money won’t increase your influence, unless you count your influence over your housekeeper and landscaper, who can’t understand English anyway, and are probably doing nasty things to your personal belongings when you’re not looking because they think you’re a fat white bastard.
Money won’t make you sexier. Honestly, it won’t. Need I point further than Ashlee Simpson? She spent eight bazillion dollars rearranging her face, so she could look like the hot girl’s boring (but less shockingly unattractive than before) sister. Now her sister’s a disgusting size fourteen, practically pouring off the cover of US magazine, and Ashlee’s husband’s band will only survive another record, maybe, so even Ashlee’s expensive and extremely painful lip and nose reconstruction probably won’t get her farther than the McDonald’s parking lot next year.
We buy things hoping they will bring us a hotter, faster, smoother life… but only Metamucil can provide that.
Pandora’s box was full of commercials. Baking cookies really is more fun than buying them in a Keebler box, reading to a child more rewarding than perusing Barnes & Nobles’ shelves, the world around you more interesting than the damn TV. We are sold artificial experiences nearly every minute, in magazine ads, billboards, TV commercials. Buy this, go here, listen to me.
That ad in your magazine, with Angelina Jolie’s slippery, enormous lips sneering from it, or Halle Berry’s pursed ones, was conceived and created simply to pull money from your wallet. Jolie doesn’t care if you buy her lipstick, or someone else’s, and moreover, it’s not her lipstick- when she goes out, she wears either a $1469 tube of French, gold-infused, mink-oil-enhanced lip creme, or a couple of lip glosses she shoplifted from the dollar store and mixed together over the stove.
Some guy in New Jersey just wants you to think that she uses it, so that he raises sales and gets the lipstick account again next year. It’s not going to look good on your face, with your mouth or your coloring, but everyone, from the editors at Marie Claire to the makeup “pro” on Oprah, will tell you that it will. It’s simple- they profit if you buy it. The same goes for sneakers, movies, t-shirts, chicken grills and tooth whiteners. You would be surprised how empty your life would seem without advertising and the desire it creates to attain a more exotic and delicious lifestyle.
Exotic and delicious experiences are right outside your door, and if they’re not, that may be what politicians and advertisers want you to forget. Much better to keep watching TV and stuffing your face with Cheetos, than to go for a walk and discover you’re about to be hit by a car, killed by toxic pollution, gunned down by angry neighbors, or just plain bored by the cement landscape. Too doom-and-gloom? Maybe. But if you weren’t fantasizing about a new car, ab cruncher or double bacon ‘n cheese half-pounder, would you get through your workday without punching your boss in the nose?
Sometimes I just think people gain power by creating a desirable carrot to dangle in front of us. That capitalism is no longer about satisfying needs, but creating them.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.