IN ITS SUNDAY Styles section this week, The New York Times had an interesting although strange article on how money affects friendship. The long and short of the piece was that people in this world aren't economically equal, and this causes much angst and heartache amongst people -- both with and without lots of money -- who are concerned about what others think about them.
The Times' story largely deals not with necessities but with luxuries: the meals out, and the vacations, and fancy clothing, but mostly about meals out. That's why I found the story a bit strange. Recently, I had the chance to catch with many of my friends, who come from varying social backgrounds and who each have different financial circumstances. Yet not once did anything approaching disharmony ever come up while eating out: sometimes I bought and sometimes others bought and most of the time, it was Dutch. In fact, I can't think of a time when money ever has come up as an issue among my friends. I just have to think that people who worry about these types of things are a bit more high-strung about social things in general.
Certainly I am high-strung at times, but not about social things, and not about material goods. I'm not a car person and not an electronics person and not a clothes person. The only real consumer goods that I get excited about are books. Now, that's certainly not to say that I don't appreciate or value the finer things in life -- I most certainly do! It's just that I'm not stressing out over the need to acquire the latest and greatest stuff. The nine-year-old car I have now works well and so does my 24-inch television set and my apartment furniture and my computer. When these things break, they can be replaced with newer goods. That's pretty much all there is to it.
Besides, I can't deviate from The Plan (the Benjamin Kepple Provident Fund Scheme) which I have devised to plot out my eventual semi-retirement to a lifestyle filled with fun and adventure -- or, at the very least, the creature comforts any successful advertising executive would have enjoyed during the early Sixties. For me, that makes it easier to avoid temptation, because I keep contributing to that larger goal. That may occasionally cause short-term issues but in the long run, I hope it will prove worthwhile.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 8, 2006 07:46 PM | TrackBack