By nature, I’ve never been a very materialistic person. I shop at second-hand stores and yard sales for my household decor and I buy generic brand groceries. I knit both of my boys’ sweaters, blankets and hats for winter, sewed my own curtains and recently, laid a new kitchen floor, all by myself.
I don’t care about the latest fashion trends or the newest cell phone, I don’t care about how big my television is and I refuse to buy a Blu-ray player when my old VCR still works just fine.
Yes. I said VCR. Deal with it.
When holidays or occasions roll around that traditionally are accompanied by gifts, my husband John inwardly cringes because he says I am impossible to buy for.
“You never want anything,” he complained.
“Well, we could really use a new vacuum …,” I ventured.
“A vacuum is not an appropriate gift! Stop telling me things you need. I want to give you something you want.”
I drew a blank.
The truth is, I just don’t buy things for myself. I spend money, don’t get me wrong. But I spend it on bills, groceries, stuff for the kids, the dog, the house, my husband. Just not on myself. I never have.
It’s not a self esteem thing, I know I’m worth more than the holey 10-year-old blue jeans I’m wearing. It’s just that spending money on myself for frivolous things seems wasteful to me and if I can go without, it just makes things that much easier at the end of the month when bills are due and money’s tight. It’s not like I’m pining away for something specific.
Or, at least I wasn’t …
A couple of days ago I saw an article on social media about a new gaming console being released this November and my heart about stopped.
The original, classic 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was being re-released. With HDMI connectors, wireless controllers and 30 built in games.
Oh. My. God.
I can’t remember the last time I was so excited for a “toy” and I find that I’m about as impatient as my 4-year-old would be about its release date.
In another rarity for me, I told my husband not only that I wanted it, but that I didn’t care how much it cost. (Luckily it’s going to retail for around $60.)
John was skeptical. We have a gaming console in the house, an Xbox 360, and while he plays it all the time fighting zombies or boxing or building up his coaching dynasties on NCAA football, he could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve played it. He just always assumed I wasn’t into video games.
That’s kind of true. I don’t care for any of the modern games. I prefer the original ones that I spend my childhood with: Mario brothers, Zelda, Tetris, Contra, Double Dragon, RBI Baseball and Duck Hunt, just to name a few.
I subscribed to “gamer” magazines that would reveal maps of hidden levels, cheats for unlimited lives and secret locations for the best weapons.
Thirty-something years later, I can still recite the Konami Code in my sleep: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start!
I can’t help it, I am a child of the 80’s.
I envision myself staying up late after the kids are in bed playing Zelda and happily navigating the Kingdom of Hyrule searching for fairy ponds to replenish my hearts and burning bushes to find the caves where the old wizard guy declares “It’s a secret to everybody!” before giving me hundreds of rupees.
I’ll confuse my husband in the morning as he leaves for work by yelling “It’s dangerous to go out alone! Take this!” before thrusting an umbrella into his hands.
I’ll teach my kids the proper way to squash a Goomba in Mario 3 and that if you wear the Tanooki Suit and combine it with a P Wing, you can reach the hidden cloud cities where you can gather as many coins as you want.
It’s going to be glorious.
In the meantime I just need to distract myself until the release date comes in November.
But as far as me no longer spending money on myself?
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.