WHAT’S SO FUNNY
What’s the dumbest thing you ever bought?
Take a minute to decide: What item, whether purchased for yourself
or another, has made you feel the most idiotic in retrospect?
This isn’t a contest. The winner doesn’t get anything, and I
should add, perhaps, that the winner doesn’t get rid of anything.
It’s just an aid to memory as you plan your upcoming shopping, so you
can avoid a past pitfall or two.
One of these pitfalls is to buy outside your area of expertise.
For instance, I can’t buy good clothes for myself or anyone else.
When dressed up in my bachelor days, I was told I looked like a neon
sign with a few lights burnt out. Once, and only once, I bought a
girlfriend a dress. She didn’t like it, and worse, she couldn’t get
Music. It can be tough to buy for others here, but surely you
should be able to buy for yourself. And yet, on my CD shelf, among
other incomprehensibles, I find Bernard Herrmann’s music from
“Psycho.” What was I thinking? How many times was I going to sing
along to that?
Moving up closer to No. 1, I once bought 500 shares in a company
that was going to make hermetic airplane seats, so if your plane
crashed and burned on takeoff or landing, you could sit in it
unharmed and walk away afterward. For some reason the airlines never
adopted these large, expensive bio cubes. I still have the
certificate, in case the universe turns on its ear.
But to qualify as the dumbest ever, I think the item has to be so
big you can’t get rid of it. And as I look back over a lifetime of
50-pound punching bags and previously owned vehicles, one purchase
stands out. In fact, it stands right outside. It’s the clubhouse.
When I was a kid, I saw one of those tall wooden mini-forts in
which you and your buddies could have secret meetings and repel
invaders. I begged my parents for one -- thinking they were made of
money, I believe, is the expression they used.
Well, I couldn’t get one when I was 6, and I couldn’t get my son
one when he was 6.
But when my daughter was 7 we went out to Aliso Viejo, where they
were having a sale on clubhouses. I said to her, “Do you want this
clubhouse?” and she said, “Sure.”
It had a slide on it and a little ladder and a little picnic table
Well, it looks good out in the yard, but it turns out that Katie
didn’t need it. She went in it a few times, and that was it. To her,
it’s basically an outdoor closet that leaks.
Even sadder, I only go in it about twice a year. And then I don’t
stay. There’s no electricity, and my buddies are mostly back in the
Midwest and married.
The moral is, I guess, that if you get something for someone else
and it’s really for yourself, make sure it’s for your present self.
Someday, though, before it starts raining again, I intend to climb
up there one afternoon and read my old stock certificate while I
listen to the music from “Psycho.” Just to get my money’s worth.
* SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four
novels, three of which were critically acclaimed.