Friday, August 04, 2006

Numbers on Paper

NPR reported that the Israeli army was planning for a push 15-20 miles farther north in Lebanon. In the flash of a moment, the idea of being a soldier sounded appealing. A second later I came to my senses about my perceived joy of war. It should not be an elective activity.

But it's simple. You get up that morning and you try not to die. With all the worries about my house -- arranging it and furnishing it and the fun with the plumber (not!) I might have mentioned -- it sounded refreshing to think of breaking everything down to its elements. How much better might it be to throw off all possessions and think of nothing but staying alive and pushing forward? Nothing will focus you on what's important like literally having to fight for your life.

How much much of our lives do we entangle in trivial minutae? My new end tables are too big for the living room. I can't decide where to hang the pictures I have because they don't match the vision I have for the room. The new granite countertops have a dull spot I've waited weeks for the installers to come polish. Where will the digital piano I plan to buy fit?


Too often I'm penny-wise and pound-foolish, which is an English saying that makes a lot more sense in England. Here it sounds like pinching pennies makes you fat. But I digress.

If I absolutely hate the end tables, I can get rid of them. They cost $250 in the clearance section at Broyhill. It's not a tragedy; it's just numbers on paper.

Just numbers on paper. I'm lucky I can look at it that way. The house is paid for and I don't live paycheck-to-paycheck like so many people do. Only people who don't have real problems have the luxury to invent them by obsessing over details that really don't matter.

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