Every once in a while, the pastor at my church gives a poignant reminder that for all the stressing we do over our material possessions, God doesn't care about all the stuff we have. Contrary to what that '80s bumper sticker said, he who dies with the most toys still dies, and you can't take any of it with you. Our American culture being what it is, that's a hard concept to process.
Take, for example, Home & Garden Television, which has been known to send me into fits of rage.
HGTV's mission -- despite my wife's Playboy Magazine excuse that "I just watch it to get decorating ideas" -- seems to be relentlessly brainwashing us all into believing that what we have is never ever enough.
"House Hunters" gives me such powerful feelings of inadequacy that I feel like blowing my brains out.
"I'd like to know where these neighborhoods are," my wife sometimes says after seeing list prices in excess of $500,000 for houses that are a modest 1,200 square feet.
Even HGTV nice guys the "Property Brothers" are forced to appease this endless, annoying, greedy parade of whiners that "must have" more bathrooms than they'll ever use, "open concept," hardwood flooring (Have you seen how EXPENSIVE hardwood is?!), granite counter tops (cha-CHING) and stainless steel appliances.
What kind of a message does all this reality TV self-absorbed bitching and moaning send, when there are homeless people right in your "trendy, up and coming" neighborhood that would be grateful to have that house that you're pooh-poohing just because it doesn't have a swimming pool?
At the point my brain turned to mush during a recent marathon of "Love It or List It," [there's a freakin' dollar sign in the word "List" in the show's official logo!] that's when I lost it. This family was living in a pretty nice bungalow, which the husband unfortunately sabotaged by starting numerous improvement projects but never finished. The show's real estate agent, David Visentin -- who's probably the biggest HGTV whiner of them all -- showed the couple one house listed at $1 million and another at $1.25 million.
I started pacing around the house, yelling: "ONE POINT TWO FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!?"
I get it that the show is shot in Canada, and these are Canadian dollars (I hear that, in typical fake "reality TV" fashion, some of the houses are not even actually on the market, but I will leave that alone). Still, if these idiots had that big of a budget to even be considering houses listed at $1,000,000+ each, why not invest in a contractor that knows what they're doing instead of ruining your house with unfinished projects that, in the long run, cost more to correct?
Eee-gads, these HGTV people are throwing around Monopoly money. Meanwhile, by the time I get that kitchen backsplash my wife covets, it'll be out of style -- perpetuating the cycle of "never stop improving." Or as I like to bluntly put it, spending even more money on stuff you know you eventually won't want any more.
All this, and you still can't take it with you.