Solutions To Problems That Don't Exist

There's nothing more satisfying than solving the lack of a problem. It's a trapping of modern technological lifestyle that I often lament to the thin placating of my various friends and coworkers. Now I submit you, reader, to the same level of scrutiny and crankiness with one fine difference -- you can turn me off at will. Now there's a real solution!

In my night stand, among various old writings and drawings is a manilla folder filled with clippings, archived to remind me, when times are moody or low, that my life could be so much better if only I owned a big fake plastic rock to cover up that unsightly pipe in my backyard! Because somehow a cheap ass faux-rock is much better, especially when it costs $300! Or perhaps I could buy a turbo nail clipper because it traps flyaway clippings! That's been keeping me up at nights. The list goes on: the Greyhound Doorstop, Super UV Toothbrush Sterilizer, a man-shaped pool equipment holder (for just $600), and of course the beer tap in the shape of a golf club... cuz sometimes the little lady doesn't need to know that when you yell "fore", it really signals how many drinks you've secretly imbibed. These miracles came from the panaceatic SkyMall magazines in airplane seat pockets... you know, next to the barf bag. Convenient!

My other rambling is about Pampered Chef products. Now before you send me notes about how you like PC and its fine line of doodads, I'm not condeming the entire line or those who purchase their wares. But I get really tired of these objects will one single niche freak-of-nature purpose that will make suburban home life bearable. Like the ice cream sandwich maker. Um, yeah. Or the Hold 'n' Slice that looks like my grandmother's hair pick from the 1970s. C'mon now. These silly items aren't truly what drives me crazy, though. Because they are just quick fixes for our core issues.

How many people have garages with no cars in them because of all the stuff packed inside? Homes get bigger, and we fill them with more stuff. Consumerism is handy for covering up empty feelings, and it's a trap anyone can easily fall into. I'm no different, so I lament on this as a fellow hooked fish.

I guess my point is this -- it seems the difference between healthy and unhealthy consumerism is as fine as a razor's edge. It offers us the ultimate escape from a reality created by ourselves, our society, and our world. But how much happier does it make us? This is starting to sound like a "Fight Club" rip off, but I happen to agree with it.

So what is my solution to all these insolutions? I wish I knew. I think it's something we all have to think on individually. And perhaps that's the true problem -- we've become so distracted from ourselves by the world around us, that we get set into an auto pilot holding pattern. Fortunately, we can become unstuck.

My solution is to seek a little more mindfulness in my day. More being and less doing. Making time to reconnect with friends and family. Feeling all my emotions. Tasting food as I eat it. Breathing deeply. Smiling often, especially when it hurts. I'm a firm believer in balance, much as I don't always practice it. But any practice is an experience. Intentions get you only so far.

In light of what I have written, I am thankful for the technology and conveniences in my life; this blog is a testament to that. But I should not be what is consumed in the process of consumption. Life is too precious.


Allie D. said...

Excellent post, Chris, and I agree completely. And before you even mentioned that you looked those things up in Skymall, that's exactly what I was thinking about! lol I like gadgets, but they have to serve a MAJOR purpose before I decide to clutter my life further.

And yes, Pampered Chef is out of control. I try to avoid the culinary uni-tasker, as I call it. The only one that I really have is a garlic press, because I hate chopping sticky garlic cloves. Walk through a kitchen store and there are more wastes of money: a Quesadilla Maker? And how about the electric cheese graters?

Stupid stupid stupid.

ramblergirl said...

Just last week I was looking through a friend's wedding registry, and although it wasn't Pampered Chef brand one of the items she put on the registry was an apple slicer. I didn't know there was such a product, but I guess a knife just won't do.

And I say this as a person who does own pampered chef products (an ice cream scooper that heats up so the ice cream is easier to scoop and the measuring spoons that are adjustable so you only need two to cover every size you might need). Still, it's insane.

Anonymous said...

Nice entry, Chris. I never remember seeing those gadgets in SkyMall, but I really never payed attention. When I used to fly, I was a total geek and studied airline route maps and airport maps.

An ice-cream sandwich maker? What some people will do to be able to say they have a patent.

Allie D. said...

Ramblergirl- was the apple slicer one where you attach it to the lip of a countertop or table and turn a crank?

Or the kind with the circle in the center that you push through the apple's core and it leaves sections?

I have to admit that I do own one of those... ;) My mom gave it to me and it does seem to make an easy job of disassembling an apple. The only time I like to break it out, though, is if I'm making a large batch of apple sauce or apple butter and I have like two dozen apples to break down. :)

Laura said...

I've got the apple corer/slicer, too, Allie! It's really handy with kids who can't eat apples the old-fashioned way - just pick it up and eat it. No, I have to cut their apples up for them, and when they both want apples, it's a lot easier. I have this onion chopper, too, but I never use it. Hubby likes it, but I prefer a big knife and a cutting board.

I tend to look at those catalogs during gift-giving season. It's really amazing the crap out there that people will buy that they don't need. It makes it easier to come up with stupid things to get the in-laws, though!

The Laughorist said...

A little more mindfulness indeed. Pampered Chef Acquisition Syndrome (PCAS) is but one tiny example or our doing rather than being. Bravo on your words.

Army said...

Allie -- my favorite besides the quesidilla maker is the smoothie's a blender with a spigot on it. (sigh)

ramblergirl -- those are good products that make sense. So I completely understand why you own them. But the hair pick hold n' slice...bragchh!

That apple peeler looks like a medieval torture device, as if it would drill into your skull...a modern day trephining, if you will.

the laughorist -- I think you may have come up with a new disorder for the DSM-V!! Psychologists love their acronyms, so PCAS is perfick!

dbv said...

could you actually imagine spending $40 on a plane to call and order the faux rock... i'd be too embarrassed to have the people sitting next to me hear me order it... that's reason enough... you'd think they'd put those phones in the bathroom so you could order in private... funny post... dbv

Allie D. said...

Oh the smoothie maker! ARGH! Nevermind the fact that when it gets to the very bottom, you'd have to pour it from the damn top anyway!

Have you seen the appliance that specifically cooks hot dogs and nothing else? Saw that at Target once. Had holes in the top to stick the hotdogs and a spot to warm the buns.


Hey- is it time to start the coundown?! :) :) :)

Robert said...

A couple of well placed shrubs around that unsightly concrete pipe will add more value (in every sense of the word) to your home than any cheap plastic "rock".