Monday, August 31, 2020

Spoiled by Choices

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!

I remember as a child we got to go to McDonald's maybe once or twice a year.  McDonald's was less a "sometimes food" as Cookie Monster would say and more of a "seldom if ever food."  But it made getting an actual Happy Meal something akin to an event!  I treasured those toys, I delighted in that little tiny paper packet of fries, I luxuriated in that Coke.

Hmm.  I should probably luxuriate in Coke more often.

Anyway, you kind of carry that with you in a nostalgic way, or I did, anyway, and when I got to be a teenager with my own income and pretty ready access to McDonald's I went there a few times but it just wasn't as exciting.  I could just, like, have a Big Mac.  Who wants that?

Funny thing is, I also remember reading and re-reading books.  I would read THE HITCHHIKERS' GUIDE TO THE GALAXY until the spine was worn out.  I read my Warhammer rulebooks until I probably could have recited the stats and history of Grom the Paunch of Misty Mountain to you verbatim.

Now, though I hardly even read the books I have.  Certainly I have a massive stack of them, a few shelves, actually, and I'm constantly reading something.  But the thought of going back and reading, say, HEIR TO THE EMPIRE for the fifteenth time practically give m an anxiety attack.

And, while it may seem like I'm just throwing random life circumstances at you, I think it boils down to something that occurred to me yesterday, when my girlfriend instituted a mandatory no-work, all-movie day after the biggest installation in our little balloon shop's history.


Fear of Missing Out.

It's stupid, I know, but I was sitting there with a remote in my hand.  I have cable (yes, I'm the guy) with On Demand, and thus access to a plethora of movies.  I also have Netflix, which has a million movies, half of them proprietary.  And Hulu, more or less ditto.  I also have access to a friend's Plex account, which is sort of like another little smorgasbord.  And I have my own rather veritable collection of DVDs, if I do say so myself, with a solid dozen I've never even pulled out of the plastic.  And from all that I couldn't pick a single damn movie!

I don't know.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm just Andy Rooney over here.  (Kids, ask your parents.)  But I kept thinking, every time I spotted a movie that might be good, "Sure, it might be good, but if I spend two hours on it, what if I could have been watching one that was even better."  And, even worse in a way, every time I saw a movie that I knew I liked, that I had fond memories of and that my gf might even enjoy, I had to think, "You're going to watch this again?  When you have ten thousand movies at your fingertips that you could be watching...for the first time?"

And it's not just movies and books.  Food, too, like I mentioned earlier.  I can press a button on my magic spellcaster and a dude will just fucking show up at my door with anything on the planet I can imagine.  And I can never make a fucking choice anymore!  It used to be that you could just get pizza, and pretty much flip a coin between the two places that delivered to you, because maybe one of them had better fries or something, and that was fucking it.  That was a fun Friday night.  And then you popped one of your eight VHSs in the VCR and called it a night.  (Kids, ask your parents.)

But, there I go Andy Rooneying all over myself again.  I don't know, maybe it's just a regular part of becoming an adult, and it just seems new to me because I'm becoming an adult for the first time, but I feel like I was happier when I didn't have any goddamned choices.  Back then, actually getting a choice was like the clouds parting and the choir singing!  "Chicken McNuggets or a cheeseburger?  Hot damn!"  Now technology has put the world literally at my fingertips, and it all just sounds so drab, perhaps as a consequence.

It could be worse, I guess.  Imagine being Picard and magicking up (sorry, magic-like sciencing up) a meal or an ancient race's flute or whatever the hell you want at the push of a button.  No wonder those guys are always going out looking for evil sweater-wearing cyborgs and shit.  It must be boring as shit to have a techno-genie as a home appliance.


Karissa Laurel said...

I see myself in this post and I feel called out.

Phronk said...

I agree with Karissa, this is painfully relatable content.

I've been watching Joe Bob Briggs' live show on Shudder on Friday nights, and it's sort of a relief to not have to choose anything. He just plays whatever movie is scheduled for that night, and you watch it whether you like it or not, at exactly 9:00pm, and if you fall asleep or go take a shit you miss part of it. I've missed having to plan my shits! Is that weird?

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