Conspicuous Consumption…

The technology bounty of just one Christmas...half of which was never used. Technology recycling day was an eye opener.
The technology bounty of just one Christmas…half of which was never used. Technology recycling day was an eye opener.

The smallest moments can sometime have the largest impact on the way we see life and ourselves. One of those moments happened recently for me when our community held a free electronics recycling day.

Instead of paying someone to pull the precious metals out of our old computer’s brain and guts, we could hand it over for free – our tax dollars paying us a small return on investment.

My first impression was, “this will be easy”. It wasn’t. Once the hunt through the house began, it seemed nearly every room held some outdated device. From telephones that hung on the wall with cords connected to a handset, to an ancient electronic Rolodex, to an almost as ancient fax machine, several generations of cell phones, all the way to a huge computing tower and even larger monitor weighing over a hundred pounds, years of old technology was removed from closets, drawers, and desks.

By the time we finished, the entire back compartment of our SUV, with the second row of seats flattened, was filled to the roof with extinct dinosaurs, victims of technology’s evolution.

Looking at the tangle of plastic, metal, glass and wires, I started running a tab in my head: When the total reached $6000, I stopped counting.

As I watched burly big men toss our hard earned dollars into bins, heard the smashing of once glorious machines, I tried to rationalize the loss. Those things were not luxuries, they were necessities that made it possible for us to do our jobs, be more efficient, and overall have a better quality of life. But oh, wouldn’t I like to have those six plus thousand dollars, now. Exotic locales await…

That money, and the money that followed, did not take me to the Greek Isles, instead it bought an entire new generation of machines that no doubt will someday end up tossed in a bin of no return.

Every experience in life is a lesson. What this one has taught me is, going forward; I will be very selective with my purchases. Do I really always need the latest and greatest or would I prefer to cruise to Mykonos.

Bon voyage my friends.