Need vs. Want


Don’t get me wrong; I feel blessed to live in a rich country. My kids don’t have to pick through e-waste to help me buy dinner. And I’ve always been a hard worker, but my body isn’t bent and aged beyond its time in the pursuit of survival. But our culture here in the United States has myriad insidious facets.

We teach our children (who sometimes evolve into adults) to be consumers. Hell, we don’t teach it: it’s present in the very fabric of daily living. Buy, buy, buy. You need a new iPhone, new Jordan’s, a new truck. I don’t let my kids watch commercials (as much as possible) because companies start jamming products in our faces before we can walk (the TV has an “off” button—remember that). They attempt and generally succeed in creating desires for products and services, and through incessant repetition these desires start to feel like necessities.

We need food; we need shelter, and I understand wanting to live in luxury, but I want to remind the three people who read this to stay aware of the little voice dictating to them what they “need”. If you want it, fine, but please don’t tell yourself you need it, because more than likely you don’t.

Due to the preachy nature of this post, I’ll keep it short. I don’t want to tell anyone how to live his or her life, but please try not to get sucked in to the advertising maelstrom of American life. To borrow from Louis C.K., let’s try not to be mindless product sponges, and even more importantly, teach our children not to be. I’ll step down off my soapbox now.

Oh yeah, here’s a picture I drew.

About Jeff Opfer

Jeff is a carpenter and freelance writer born and raised in the Reno area. View all posts by Jeff Opfer

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