Brevity

Hello and salutatious welcomings to you all…

Life is all a little bit too serious these days. It’s like someone has removed the funny bone from our society and replaced it with a jelly-like substance that smells of fear and stress. The fearstress jelly seems to run western life with the ruthless efficiency made famous by many a leiderhosen wearing Bavarian factory owner.

Starting off with a slight tickle of racism certainly wasn’t my intention. In fact, and I’m not sure if the boonparents still possess photos of me dressed as such, but there was a point in my life when I did own a pair of  leather trousers that were handed down to me by a neighbour’s mother. I am uncertain if they were the fabled breeches of our Germanic cousins, but I can tell you this: they contained two adjacent zipper flies, when both were in the ‘descended’ position, opened a large flap in the front of the shorts. I can only assume this was to allow the wearer free range over any toilet encountered. Being only seven at the time of the trouser inheritance had me thinking that the previous owner might indeed be endowed with adjacent bi-genitalia – although age and common sense has since dented this belief slightly.

Back to my original point – life is too serious. Our culture (and by our I mean NZ, Australia, UK, USA and other such countries) is obsessed with ownership. It seems the model of our life is such: we go to school, we get a job, we go to work, we earn money to pay for things, and then we retire with little to show for it except some grey hairs, a kid or two, a late model car and maybe a house.

Our total focus on home ownership seems to have set us up incredibly well to deal with this current recession, hasn’t it?? What I’m trying to say, in a slightly sarcastic tone it must be admitted, is what I have said many times in this blog: you should never pay for something if you don’t have the money for it. People are going to say, “but I would never have the money for a home if the banks didn’t provide a mortgage facility.” Yeah, but that’s what the banks WANT you to think. You know you can save up for a house and buy it with cash – it will take years and years and years but it can be done. You can save up for a car and buy it for cash. And a stereo. An I-pod. A new pair of leiderhosen. You don’t have to get into huge amounts of debt because your parents did, or because society says it’s important to own a home. Sure you need somewhere to live, but I’ve seen people in housing provided by the taxpayer far happier than anyone else I know. Technically, I suppose Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth fall into this category, but I now find myself ridiculously off point yet again and we must be brought back to my original point.

Life is all too serious.

Who says you have to buy stuff, own stuff, be something? Was it your mum? The government? If we weren’t so focused on this life model of capital purchasing or borrowing to fund our wants, then I doubt very much that the current recession would be happening. Banks would not have lent to people because there would have been no demand. Housing prices would be affordable – if people even wanted to own in the first place.

What would it be like if you didn’t want all the things you wanted? Admittedly some of those things, like quilted toilet tissue, make life a lot easier than in the days when we used bark and stones for the job, but really are you any happier?

How many people reading this have had to change jobs in the last year? How many have had to change down? That is, are you now a worker when you used to be a manager? You’ve had to take a pay cut because that was the only option. Has this affected your ability to service your liabilities? And has this, in turn, affected your brevity levels?

Of course, all this is immensely easy for me to say because I don’t have kids or a mortgage. If you have kids you do need that stability of home ownership a little more I suppose because if you were renting there’d always be the chance the landlord would ask you to move on.

The chances of my wife and I having this dream (home, kids, car etc.) are greatly reduced at the present moment and we are about to head into the world of IVF in order to attain at least part of it. This should have me tearing my hair out. Sometimes it does, but mostly it doesn’t. I am a happy and incredibly lucky person. I have a wonderful wife who I love and who loves me back. I have great friends and family who make me laugh. My wife and I get around in a 1991 Toyota Corolla with a bit of rust in the door and 200,000kms on the clock. I don’t feel the ‘need’ to own a house – I would quite like one sure – but I don’t need one. Even if we do get the chance to be parents I’m not sure if I want the stress of home ownership adding to the rest of it…

So, to conclude… go and buy yourself a pair of leiderhosen. Wear them proudly to work. Wear them to the bank when you’re breaking your fixed mortgage contract and being charged $16,000 for the privilege. I guarantee you the rub of leather against your moist skin will make that charge ever so slightly more bearable.

Until next time, auf wiedersehen.

Boon x

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