I come to understand that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day that y’all American wage-slave debt-monkeys are supposed to get out there and buy some Asian-manufactured consumer goods from a Big Box retail operation for a member of your family. This is now tradition in the United States, if you hadn’t yet received your instructions on the matter.
Since this time-focused orgy of acquisition results in considerable amounts of stress, I would like to improve society by relieving you of at least one burden: nobody needs to buy me any Christmas presents this year – or ever again.
I understand that the Business TeeVee Onscreen Cheerleaders are developing hemorrhoids simply because I dared type those words, but the fact remains – I neither require nor desire any consumer goods because of a twisted cultural tradition.
Here is my personal situation: I am 39 years of age. I am married with children. I own a home in the suburbs that has been functioning for some time. Compared with the vast majority of the planet, I have absolutely everything I need and an obscenely high percentage of the frivolous things I merely want. If you are a member of my family and want to buy me a present because of tradition, you are in a terrible position. I require nothing – I have automobiles, cooking equipment, furniture, linens and a full wardrobe – everything for my daily life. And as to what I desire, you have no ability to meet with success, because my remaining desires are hyperfocused and punishingly expensive.
I have completely awesome basses for my second career as a musician: a John Suhr J-Bass, a 1990 Pedulla Buzz fretless, an Azola Baby Bass Reissue and a Fender Sting P-Bass with souped-up pickups and strings to sound great for Motown and country gigs. I have a super MarkBass amplifier that nails every tone I need on a gig, from Jaco-type honk to Marcus Miller’s razor-sharp scooped mids.
So you know what I want this Christmas? The Janek Gwizdala signature model from Fodera:
Pretty gorgeous, right? It’s the Matt Garrison Imperial shape, 33″ scale, buckeye burl top, ebony fretboard, walnut tone block, Mike Pope preamp.
Fodera only sells it direct from the factory. It costs $12,000.00. So, unless your name is “Great Uncle Warren Buffett” you aren’t going to buy this for me. Also, I don’t need it, I want it. And it’s a crazy, frivolous desire, one equal to considerable daycare and food and clothing for my family – for a year.
What a lucky bastard I am that my desires are this freaking outlandish, as opposed to the thousands of souls in Tacloban, Philippines, who want to bury their dead and get a supply of clean water for Christmas. When I think of the people in a devastated town laid low by a natural disaster, it seems absurd that I would dare ask anybody to spend money on a present for me. When I think about the Americans who need healthcare and schooling and heat for the winter, I actually have to tell people not to spend money on me, ever again. Send me a picture, write me a nice note, call me and tell me how you’re doing. Smile. But please, spend your money on a neighbor who needs it.
It is time that as a culture, Americans stopped seeing consumer spending as some easy form of patriotism. We have long since moved manufacturing of said consumer goods offshore, concentrated the mom-and-pops into publicly-traded conglomerates, and have usually reduced the workforce of these stores to a life of hand-to-mouth survival. Black Friday isn’t getting us anywhere as a culture, no matter how much we shop. So at least where I am concerned, please stop participating in it.
Actually, you can send me one gift – the name of an effective, reputable charity that helps people in my homeland of Vermont or my adopted city of Saint Louis. The biggest gift to all of us is a culture of charity and good will among men.
Right on Garland!
I direct you to London’s Harvey Nichols and this year’s self-indulgent ad campaign of cheap trinkets for Ultra Low Net Worth Individuals, and the campaign is entitled #ispentitonmyself. http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/columns/bibby-sowray/TMG10477935/Sorry-I-spent-it-on-myself-Harvey-Nichols-self-indulgent-Christmas-campaign.html
I’m with you. Am trying to convince the broader family that we only want experiences this year (which admittedly are not all free – ski lift tickets, date nights out, taking the peanuts to the movies). We’ll see how much headway I get with the paradigm shift.
Bass guitars with more than four strings always sound like crap.
Please look up Tony Levin.
“I’ve tried the high notes, and I like the low notes better.” -Tony Levin
Wonderful post… it’s great to remember those less fortunate, especially in our own backyard. Even children don’t really need the crazy amount of stuff that comes around these days! Overwhelming! We love simple gifts… a plate of cookies, or a ticket to a movie… enjoyable experiences rather than another gadget or thing cluttering up life!
Great post, I get what you mean exactly about buying for Christmas; the getting and giving leaves me with a slightly sickly residue. I’m a lifelong musician and also have tons of music gear (guitars, etc, etc) and as a 22-yr veteran of Guitar Center (I no longer work there) I read that post with much interest. But I do have to say, (to me) that is one ugly bass! I guess beauty is in the ear of the beholder!
Give it a listen – the bass and the player are awesome. It sounds very balanced, and the 33″ scale appears to give super access to chords. I’ve heard the recorded tone as well on Janek’s records, and it sits in a track as a well as a P-Bass.
But man…saving my pennies for that pricetag…owww.
WOW that sounds good.
Lovely. Thank you.
I don’t know the specific charities in Vermont, but you might want to call Small Dog Electronics, based in the Montpelier area and with a physical store there. It’s a computer retailer (Apple products and gear), but I am not suggesting that you buy computers from them unless you need one (in which case I do recommend them). Besides good service, one of the reasons I’m a customer is that they frequently list an item along with the computers: donation to local charities (Vermont Food Bank, animal rescue, etc)–and Small Dog matches the donation as well as doing fund-raisers separately. So I’m sure they have a list of effective and reputable Vermont charities that they’d be glad to share.
I stand corrected. It sounds great and the look is starting to grow on me…
Amen, brother! One of my clients is taking children from the local Angel Tree and giving gifts to them in the name of their customers (who are health care providers). We don’t need crap… especially when you consider those people without food, water, or heat.
I’m with you – I need nothing. When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I ask them to donate to the dog rescue I’m affiliated with. It’s so much better than buying me a bunch of stuff I don’t need at all.
I really like your article, Eric. I feel the same way about Black Friday or Thursday, for that matter. You asked for the name of a reputable charity in our area. There are many but one that I know personally is a mission school in East St. Louis, IL. It is called Unity Lutheran School. They provide education for children Age 3 to Grade 8 in a very impoverished community. Check them out at http://www.unityesl.org. Have a great Christmas and keep plucking that bass! Sue Miller