Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On Stuff

And now, a personal story.

When I was backpacking through Spain a few years back during my year abroad in Italia, I met a girl in Granada--home of the Alhambra--who was also traveling through that wonderful Spanish country of ham, fried ham, fried piglets, and falafel. Her name is Iris Marble, dunno if she's out there, reading this post from some humid hostel in Costa Rica--but if you are, holla!--but she taught me an important lesson while we were overlooking the Moorish city from the Bumblebee patio.

She had been traveling for almost a year, through New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia...When suddenly her overstuffed backpack frame just completely broke apart. She had been carrying mementos, gifts, clothes, clothes, more clothes, STUFF, to be exact...And had to throw so much of it away. And she found it to be quite a cathartic, liberating experience...

Why the hell do we have so much stuff? My room has a bed, a nightstand, some clothes, a broken lamp, a baseball and baseball glove, 2 blue crates, 4 pairs of shoes, and an alarm clock. Oh, and water bottles. (I'm getting a rug because I'm seriously concerned that another few nights at this temp and my testicles are gonna fall right off, seriously diminishing my chances at procreation.)

But STUFF. Do we really need it? Do you really need all the things you own? The shit on your desk, the superchic cell phone you might be reading this from, that book even, expensive highliters? I hope I'm not sounding too pretentious, because then I'd be forced to commit suicide if Rugelach didn't kill me first, b/c obviously I made needless expenditures, but I'm talking more from a humanistic point of view, I think. Our tendency to collect, to gather and to save, thinking that one day this will come in handy, or I really am going to use this when I get home. Maybe I'm just quibbling about a friend of mine, who in his twenties, owns: a hot tub, 2 barbecues, 2 laptops, 3 computer monitors, an aquarium, 2 sofas, a Laz-E-Boy, 2 tables, a washer and dryer, a queen size bed, and not one, but TWO motorcycles, AND a car. Jesus. That's a lot of crap.

My theory? We should all live in our own teepees, go back to the barter system, and hunt wild buffalo. Come on! the sex would be stupendous, we'd become men by starting real fires, fashion would be nil, and Jews could finally look hot in leather. Not like Ross from friends, that freakazoid.

Who wants to be in my teepee? What? No one? Alright fuck you then. More room for me. I'm a big hairy Jew and I need it...


At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Hannah Banana said...

Did you seriously just do that? make me read your blog and then sign off in the middle of our conversation.....you continue to amaze me Aaron Small...see you at Apples n' Honey

At 5:25 AM, Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

If I get rid of everything, I'd have to kill you with just my hands and a rock. Not impossible, but I'd never have the nerves to do something like that. So you can live and I'll keep my stuff. 'Cause quite frankly, I like my things. :) Although, I think looking around, all I'd really need are my books, clothes (my mother referred to my closet as a black hole...and I kinda like that), and fish. That's plural fish; I have three.

"whdnezvt." I wish we could use these words in Scrabble.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Rabbi Yonah said...

Materialism is a barrier to spiritual growth. Relinquishing materialism is a great thing, if you have other aspirations for example. However, the acetic teepee Dahli Lama Stuff is just not yiddish, you know? You need your menorah, your shofar, your tallis and tefillin, your mezzuzah, your pesadik dishes, you need a kippah, and dont forget the tzitzis.

In other words ,there are material items that we can use in the pursuit of spiritual life.

Plasma TV's are as we all agree, are not high on the list of spiritual items.

how we imbue the things in our life with meaning, how we value things, like books, holy books, the Torah, there is a reason why Jews have such a tradition.

But in the Ketubah all you have to promise her is clothing, shelter, food, and sexual satisfaction.

So on one level we need lots of stuff to make our homes Jewish, and not Goyish. But in essence, our essential needs are the roof over our heads, food, clothing, and loving marriage. The rest is commentary.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Aaron said...

Reb Yonah.

from now on, you're giving a mussar on every post, agreed? I'll pay you in mitzvot.

But in the Ketubah all you have to promise her is clothing, shelter, food, and sexual satisfaction.

In that order? Or reverse?

At 9:19 PM, Blogger Rabbi Yonah said...

Happy to provide musser or any Rabbinic duties!

Actual text of Kesuba:

I will work, honor, feed, and support you in custom of Jewish men, who work, honor, feed, and support their wives faithfully. I will give you...food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs...


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