In Defense of Stuff
Who is your dead body friend (DBF)? A DBF is someone you call when you find yourself in possession of a corpse that needs to be disposed of quickly and without incident. If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction, Mr. Wolf is the DBF of Marsalis Wallace. My daughter Francie asked me a few month’s back who my DBF was. Someone I could trust to act quickly in a time of dire need without judgment or publicity. I didn’t have to think too long about the question. My DBF is a gentleman named Jeff Weiser.
Jeff and I were introduced by some mutual friends on a Caribbean vacation. There was controversy among the mutual friends about an event we were all to attend. We had a classic “trolley car” ethical jam when access to the event suddenly became restricted. One small group of the mutual friends pulled the lever that sent most of us off the tracks. Someone decided for all of us how the access would be granted. Being a philosophy major, and Kant devotee, this sent me into a tailspin. After ruminating audibly about the fairness of the outcome for a day or two, Jeff finally stated the following that is still seared into my synapses, “Rich this is simple, you need better friends.”
We all have those moments that are life changing. I remember exactly where I was and what I was drinking (rose!) when he said it. While on the surface this doesn’t sound like sage advice, we are a society that almost exclusively values MORE stuff. Friends, clothes, food, trips, cars, jewelry, awards, all of it. Our houses and heads are full of stuff. Then we go online to get validated for showing off….our stuff. Check your garage/closet/pantry, screen time stats or meditate for 10 minutes. Stuffed. Physically, mentally, spiritually. Jeff was dead right, as he frustratingly always is. We have a quantity problem because we have a quality aversion.
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
— Steve Jobs
As the book and now feature film House of Gucci hits the spotlight, their family motto rings true… Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. Quality is ALWAYS initially expensive. ALWAYS. The first workout. The Gucci loafers. Whole Foods. Sunday Dinner. However, quality does double duty. Not only do you get to enjoy a higher quality experience or product, but you also avoid the “I just downed a three liter of Mountain Dew” spiritual death expense to your soul. If we commit to quality, stuff becomes great stuff and you’ve avoided the false promise average stuff invariably delivers.
I love my stuff. So much so I want to exonerate stuff here publicly. The excess, less-than-stellar stuff that never make it to your thoughtful priority list, that’s the criminal. I have a lot of opinions about the quality of stuff, so if you have any questions, let them fly.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.