The Urge to Splurge #affluenza

Affluenza (n) a portmanteau word fusing affluence and influenza and meaning a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

I wrote recently about my weight loss over the last year. On the whole this has been a good thing in terms of health but I did note a few negatives, one of which was the changed shape meant perfectly sound clothes no longer fitted me. In the case of trousers and shorts, especially, this led to an uncomfortable bunching around the equatorial regions, necessitating a few new purchases.

But it didn’t stop there. As a wise man once hypothesised (French philosopher, Diderot in his essay ‘Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown’) if you upgrade one element the rest seems so shabby so a cycle of spending results. T shirts and collared shirts were next, the former baggy large sizes hanging 0ff me like a renegade Glastonbury tent billowing in the breeze. Jackets sloped off the shoulders rendering years in gym work (ahem) redundant in a surfeit of linen. Even pullovers appeared to have developed the urge to suggest I was gender bending somewhat with a new taste in A line knitwear.

When did the needs become desires wrapped up as needs? As a species, especially in the west, we have been over consuming since the baby boomers settled to their task to rid the world of any post WW2 blues. International stability, whether through a balance of terror keeping nations apart or a growing global consensus that mutual mass destruction really doesn’t cut it, has created a climate where we seem to have more so need more. If you are regularly fighting for your very existence as now happens mostly outside of the west, buying the latest must have isn’t high on your list.

Chasing what the next class up has, has given way to chasing the next celebrity must have, which is never better exemplified by the mobile phone. How many bloody upgrades do we need? It is a matter of time before the telephony tyrants offer us optional phone connectivity on our hand-helds, so overwhelming are the apps and ways we can link up. Seeing an iPhone and all it can do reminds me of the first washing machine I bought in 1982. Even back then I pondered the need for 21 settings. Over its 10 years of life we used 3, maybe 4. Now my phone does so much that I don’t need and often can’t understand anyway and the next one promises… we’ll actually just more of the same with some bells and whistles I don’t need except I’m told I must have it.

I do not want any more upgrades. If the screen cracks I want it repaired. Ditto if the charging point becomes dodge. Why can’t I have a battery that is replaceable when it is tired of life and wants time in a caesium rest home? Did you know Apple was taken to court for blocking phones that the owners had sought to have repaired in non Apple stores? WTF? Their reasoning? To protect the consumer from dodgy upgrades.

I stood in front of a mirror, rather saddened that one of my favoured T shirts made me look shapeless. And then reality stepped in. I’m 60. It’s me who is shapeless, not the T shirt. My elbows, once pert curves over which Fibonacci would have purred because of their perfection just cried out for a new equation, have slumped into little purses of puckered skin. Where is the point in buying more stuff to create a superficial impression of health and well being when my natural covering is that of the deflated balloon kind?

No, that isn’t the answer. I have a far better idea. Since the Lawyer is working abroad until October and has had to leave nearly all his clothes behind and since I happen to have shrunk to fit his sizes, I merely need to open a couple of cardboard cartoons…

Tommy Hilfiger anyone?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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26 Responses to The Urge to Splurge #affluenza

  1. Can’t let good clothes go to waist………. I mean waste. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. willowdot21 says:

    I with pensivity, she is clever! Go for it but stay clear of butt revealing jeans, however posh the underpants are not a good look for the mature man about town! 😊💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. scskillman says:

    Very good, Geoff. A couple of years ago I read a book called “Enough” by John Naish in which he set out a philosophy that certainly dovetails with your remarks here. From my point of view, it is actually very difficult to persuade Virgin that no, you don’t want to upgrade your phone, and you don’t want to take out a new contract, just because you’ve come to the end of your present one. They simply cannot understand the phrase “I am quite happy with the one I’ve got.” The only other comment I’ll make here is that not only do we have affluenza but we also have far too many options in our society. I think it’s actually very unhealthy, mentally, to have so many options. But there again that applies to the book world too, sadly (I think there are just too many people writing books….) Thank you nevertheless for your thoughts and words in this blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Glad you enjoyed and it resonated. I agree, choice is a tyranny dressed up as a benefit. We must have choice but if we don’t have the tools to choose then it merely adds stress to already intense lives.


  4. Ritu says:

    Lol!!! Well if it’s there… use it!!!!!


  5. Allie P. says:

    I feel the same about changing the paint color in one room. It inevitably makes the rest of the house appear dingy and the next thing you know I am … I am … oh let’s be honest here, I’m not doing a thing about it. If the house feels less than its showroom best then perhaps it can get to scheduling its own new do rather than force me to sacrifice a weekend or three.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love!! (Not ‘like’) Well said sir! While the kids in India rustle through rubbish dumps to find a scrap to sell or possibly eat ignorant, fat-cat westerners build on an extra room to keep their designer jeans in. There is a way to stop corporate driven consumerism – just say ‘No!’ and stop using and buying their stuff. 🙂 Having let off that little head of steam, I’m sure you look just dandy in your new (and used) outfits 🙂 the only trouble being the lawyer will return one day and want them back….

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The lawyer will probably want new threads when finally returning anyway so you have done a good service. I had to laugh out loud when I read the last of this. I loved this. Most of my clothes are well past their 20’s. There is nothing I want in the stores anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Go or it Geoff, although everyone might think you are having a mid-life crisis dressing in all the trendy stuff! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d just put all your clothes in those boxes, seal them up, and let the Lawyer open them when he gets home. By that time, he probably will have forgotten what he put there anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Norah says:

    I love your solution, Geoff. I’m sure the lawyer will never know!

    Liked by 1 person

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