where the writers are

The only time some people ever, ever get to be alone is in the mall.

“I’m going shopping”, doesn’t elicit questions or concern because it is an All American activity, wholesome and expected that you can go do by yourself.

Buying something makes your life better, at least for a few hours. Buying a new piece of clothing can make you feel like you look better. It works well until you wash it. Humm. . I don’t remember this being so tight, wrinkled and flimsy. Off to Good Will it will go within six months. It is easy to buy some new software or hardware for your computer, DVD or television systems. Life will be better and easier for a few days until you see an ad for the same thing, only better, and cheaper somewhere else. Oh well.

Sometimes you really need something, like food. But now it is more confusing than ever to buy food. You know you should buy locally grown stuff and read all the labels so you aren’t eating carcinogenic plastic instead of food. And, beef give you heart attacks, milk gives you all kinds of stuff, sugar feeds cancer cells and you think you might be developing an allergy to wheat. Even the plastic packaging the food is in will make you sick so you walk out of the grocery store and into the health food store. There you can buy some raw almonds and fruit. That will be healthy, wise and inexpensive.

The next day you call the dentist to make and appointment for a $2,000 crown because you broke a tooth on a raw almond.

Watching a woman at the beach last winter I realized that shopping must be an instinct. Almost no one spends time on the beach without picking up neat stuff and putting it in their pocket. We bend down for a shell or a pretty stone, interesting bone or feather. We gather these things and take them back to camp and put them around for decorations. When we are in the woods and find berries we gather as many as we can pick and eat. We are collectors by nature and get a deep satisfaction out of gathering things that will make our life better. Is there anything more soothing than ambling down a beach looking at everything and carefully selecting treasures? Isn’t it fascinating to realize that a whole big part of our economy is based on an instinct?

For an antidote, take a look at the award-winning clip I found on the internet called the story of stuff.