No, not those kind of toys. Sorry, but I don't know nuthin' about those mysterious and arcane entities. What can I say? I live a sheltered life.
Rather, I speak of things like garage door openers. We have a garage in this place. I've had garages before, long ago, but they hardly counted. They were somewhat dilapidated wooden structures detached from the house. This one is part of the house, and now that we are living in a colder place, I'm very happy to have it: January temperatures average about 5°C/10°F colder in Ottawa compared to Sarnia although there is much less of a difference in summer.
You'd think that it would be enough just to have a garage, that I would be happy with that. Well I was and am, but somewhere along the line, we decided to treat ourselves to one of those fancy-dancy garage door openers. Our sainted son-in-law installed it for us while we were away at Thanksgiving. Let me tell you; it's a treat. For whatever reason, pressing that button gives me a little burst of pleasure.
We all like our little treats. We enjoy and appreciate life without them, but they put a little sugar in our cake, a little spice in our sauce.
But when is enough, enough?
I have been thinking about iPods for a while now. Just over a week ago, my nephew gave me a tour of his. Yup, I really liked it, and I began to think even more about getting one. So it was that when we were in town last Sunday, I dropped into Future Shop to have a look. The big one, the 20 gig one, was on sale — the same price as the newer 4 gig model. The store was busy, the opportunity was there, I didn't know when I'd be back or how long it would be on sale. So, I pulled the trigger. I bought the thing.
Two days later, my iPod sits in the box — unopened. I don't need an iPod. I'm always home, always near my computer or other devices that will play music. I don't need an iPod. Millions are living in want. I don't need an iPod. Hundreds of thousands of poor sods are living on the edge of desperation after natural disasters have wreaked havoc and misery. I don't need an iPod. Oh yes, I gave some conscience money to World Vision for disaster relief in Pakistan. But I still don't need an iPod.
It doesn't help my guilty conscience to know that my daughter, Butterfly, looked at pods earlier this year and couldn't afford one. And it doesn't help to know that my other music-freak daughter, Ladybug, would also love one. Why should I have one and they not?
So here I sit in a dither: an old man with the heart of a kid who kinda likes his little toys, an old man who forgets his age, an old man who knows that this is a total and unnecessary frill, an old man who has some conscience about the disparity between his wants and the need of others.
An old man who would really like an iPod.
I wonder what he will do, keep it or return it? He really doesn't know. Y'know?