Sunday 14 February 2010

Don't Buy Nice Stuff: A Story of Personal Loss

You Won't Love Her Like I Love Her

Yes folks, it's been a while since my last post, but this last month has been a difficult one that has taught even me, The Tight Fist, some important lessons in Tight Fisting. Yes, I was one to lecture all of you about the dangers of owning nice things. I even wrote a whole post about it in Tight Fist Tip #25. But I have a confession to make: I did own some nice things. I got attached to them, and I paid the price. This story is a warning to the rest of you about the dangers of materialism.

It all started with a backpack containing my Ipod and laptop getting stolen a few years ago (a missed signal!), leaving me in dire need of new electronics. Like a good Tight Fist, I searched around long and hard for a new laptop. I compared prices, features, etc, but there was one machine that stuck out. Like a siren's song, the 15" Macbook Pro spoke to me like none other. It was so svelte, smooth and shiny, and owning it would instantly make me part of the hip, cool counter-culture elite. So against my better judgement, I dropped two grand on the laptop, and also bought the newest Ipod to go with it. I loved those machines.

But falling in love only serves to heighten the pain of separation. (There's a nice theme for Valentine's Day.) My pain came about four weeks ago, when I came home to find my kitchen window jimmied open and my apartment stripped of all its electronics. That's right, the world is full of asshole junkie crackhead burglars, just waiting to steal your shiny stuff. My shiny Macbook Pro that was sitting on the table had vanished into thin air, along with my camera and Ipod. The pain of loss was staggering- no more music, no more skype, no more steaming video. I was devastated.

Now, I know very well that people love to steal stuff, and those miserable, sniveling miscreants would have stolen any laptop I could have possibly had to get their next fix. The idiots even stole my worthless wireless router. So while buying cheap stuff may make you somewhat less likely to become a victim of theft, it's no panacea.

But a true Tight Fist has no emotional attachment to any material object, and has ample savings built up at all times. Therefore losing his stuff is a mere annoyance, an unavoidable fact of life. Stuff gets replaced, and life goes on. Fellow Tight Fisters, this is a mantra to live by, and it is the only way to stay sane in our materialistic society.

I have finally replaced my shiny Macbook with a new PC that costs roughly the same as what I spent on my old Ipod, and I'm pretty happy with it. And when it gets lost/stolen/broken I'm not going to shed a tear.


  1. Buddhists have much to say about love vs. attachment. When you are attached to something your main concern is yourself...what can you get out of the relationship. You did not love your material objects or your main concern would have been their happiness. They may be happier having been pawned. Glad you have come to your senses and moved on.

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  3. Losing your streaming video is one thing, but losing your steaming video, who can endure? By the way, it's good to have the tight fist back in action!

  4. You're like a modern Epictetus. Instead of a iron lamp, you had a MacBook Pro.

  5. What is the tightfist mantra about backing up data on the cloud?
    Sorry to hear about your shortlived experiment with hip and trendy.

  6. Stein, that's a tragedy. You threw a hanging curve, and some goniff knocked it out of the park. :(
    Now I'm nervous, sitting here, typing on my new laptop. ($350 Dell Mini 10 - turned into a "hackintosh" netbook running 10.6.2) I'll try to stay detached. It's just... so... shiny...

  7. Sorry about your place Stein. Glad to see you have moved beyond the world of Macs. If you want go even cheaper (and better) DIY your computer next time.

  8. i also love my laptop and my mp3-player but i never use my laptop in public and i always hide it when i leave house. i also have some saved money in case it gets stolen. but i think hiding your nice stuff is better than replacing it later.