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This is why I'm broke

Now you're torquen.

Now you're torquen.

I have railed many times against the mindless consumerism that infects just about every sentient being on this once thrifty continent but sometimes you come across something that is just so ridiculously, uselessly cool that you gotta buy 'em ... like custom Walter White Converse high tops ...

Yes, they are super ugly, but if these "drug runners" can't prompt a conversation at the bus stop with a cute artsy chick about Walter's descent into the character of Heisenberg, you don't deserve to ever have sex again.

Which may be a pertinent theme for the rest of this post because it's largely going to feature an array of fantastically geeky gadgets brought to my attention thanks to the surpassingly excellent website This is Why I'm Broke.

I get the feeling that any man who's buying himself a Space Invaders couch is not having sex with another person as often as he should - though, I'm not gonna cast aspersions at the moment because I'm wandering the Singles Wilderness as popular as a bear with poo in my fur.

Anyway, think you're above this sort of stuff?

I dare you then to imagine a world where your umbrella has a sword handle, you can go to bed in suit pyjamas and give your one and only chocolates in the form of the solar system (yes, they went with the gag on the site: "Ever wonder what Uranus tastes like?").

What about an actual "Flying F---" for the office? A giant rubber nose that dispenses green shower gel out of one nostril? Or some exposed muscle leggings for the missus? (You know you're getting toey when you click through ALL the photos of the model wearing the exposed muscle leggings and consider Googling her name).

I'm pretty sure if a woman gave me a pair titanium bottle-opener sunglasses I would have to marry her. Or at least purchase her a brain beanie as thanks or maybe even some "Fake Awake" sleeping tape for those boring meetings she'd be taking while I stayed home and looked after the kids.

I've written previously about a study that examined happiness world-wide: "People were asked to describe when they were happiest and, not surprisingly, there were statistical variations across different cultures for birthdays, weddings and family gatherings, as well as moments of prayer, accomplishment and sporting victory.

"Interestingly, one of the standard responses for all nationalities was for 'novelty' - those moments when we experience something new for the first time."

I know that, when I wander the isles of KMart or one of those two dollar shops, I can't quieten the throbbing in my head that says "THIS IS WHY IT ENDS"; that it is the obscene waste of resources on absolutely needless shit that will one day doom our race.

On the other hand, the sheer awesomeness of a dolphin power boat or a Marshall amplifier fridge is hard to resist.

They are also of a "novelty value" that speaks volumes about the sophistication of our culture, for it is only cultures of  sufficient complexity and advancement than can even countenance, let alone demand or manufacture something like a DJ cat scratch turntable, giant pancake floor pillows or a watercolour paint set iPhone case.

And so we slide towards extinction playing pool in the pool.

I'll pick you up on my Green Machine.

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here. His email address is here.

39 comments so far

  • "isles of K-Mart"

    ?? No sopping centre is an island?

    Whenever I see stuff I like I despair for humanity. I get a momentary laugh but have no intention of buying it. I'm a bit too utilitarian for that. If I want a couch then it has to be comfortable, not gimmicky with a Star Wars theme.

    As much as I'd like a life-sized Stomrtrooper suit in my living room just like Barney Stinson there's no way I'd buy one.

    But an 80" TV that I heard about the other week seems pretty cool. It just doesn't need to have a motif. Motifs become dated. Simple style never does.

    The reason humans love gimmicky stuff is because we're like all other animals. We are designed to feed and breed. We have no greater purpose than that. Now that it's not that difficult to do either we have to fill that void with something else and that is mindless consumerism of stuff that we think says something about ourselves. It not only silences the void but it screams to everyone else "this is who I am please notice me and give me attention". We used to be able to do this by dragging back a deer carcass to the tribe (or getting with the guy that dragged back the deer carcass). That no longer applies.

    No the deer carcass has been replaced by a 300+kw Mercedes roadster. Only the skilled self-aware can silence that desire for long enough until he can afford it and justify buying it.

    Date and time
    August 24, 2012, 9:02AM
    • Isn't the acquisitive impulse and its logical extension, the show-off imperative, in fact intimately related to the need to breed? The male bower bird attracts a mate by lining his nest with items of blue plastic - all of them quite useless to birds - thus demonstrating his resourcefulness and capacity to provide over-and-above the basic needs of life. With the same intent, the human male collects and proudly displays useless items which convey his material success - carefully adding some which suggest he might have a sense of humour or aesthetics, or other sorts of finer feeling which he suspects might be appreciated by his quarry. As for the human female, she does her bit for the capitalist system through the fashion and beauty industries, ensuring her appearance matches the ideal of the trophy wife. With maturity, the human female grows beyond this endless pursuit of glamour, but thankfully not so her male counterpart, who never abandons faith in the possibilities inherent in an ever-flashier car. Without the unfailing optimism and drive of the males of the species, the capitalist system would grind to a total halt, with the manufacturers of blue plastic pegs and milk bottle caps amongst those first to notice diminished demand.

      Date and time
      August 25, 2012, 12:13PM
    • The Bower Bird! On my vacation to Australia, crawling under a hedge to see a collection of blue plastic was one of my favorite experiences!

      an aside
      Date and time
      August 26, 2012, 1:00AM
  • It's not these gadgets that people rack up credit card bills's the impulse buys, the late night outs and the holidays that really hit the wallet hard. These gadgets are only a few bucks - you should be watching out for the $100/weekend binges instead

    Date and time
    August 24, 2012, 9:04AM
    • Too true Bob, it's the nights out and the holiday's that kill me, I'm not much for stuff, I burn my money in other ways.

      Date and time
      August 24, 2012, 4:00PM
    • $100/weekend binges?? Surely you missed a zero on the end there?

      Date and time
      August 27, 2012, 12:52PM
  • Hey de Brito, this is for you.

    You're welcome.

    you're welcome
    Date and time
    August 24, 2012, 9:16AM
    • I love my zombie slippers. I am seeking out a matching dressing gown and pyjama set to match them.

      Date and time
      August 24, 2012, 9:33AM
      • As a student of Chinese I often contemplate the poor peasants who fought a revolution, civil, war, endured famine and repression only to be making a flying f-ck. Oh the humanity!

        Surry Hills
        Date and time
        August 24, 2012, 10:00AM
        • But you don't need to go broke Sam. One of the most splendid inventions ever can be purchased for as little as ten bucks: The Amazing Flygun - 'the fun fast way to kill flies anywhere'. Whoever came up with that one was a bloody genius. Come to think of it I haven't seen mine in quite a while. I wonder where my wife has hidden it??

          plush new digs
          Date and time
          August 24, 2012, 10:07AM

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