July 17, 2002 09:48 AM

Sometimes I have to curl my fingers into my palm to keep from typing you there, are you really that stupid?

I am not a relativist. I am desperately self-righteous. And it is really, really hard for me not to tear down every person whose undefended, unresearched commentary offends me.

When I was younger, I made people cry. Look at me and my reasonable discussions now!

This is not what I came here to tell you. What I came for was this: the Japanese restaurant found my sunglasses, kept them for two weeks, recognised me when we came in last night, and gave them back! This unforeseen windfall made me delight in the wonder of small things enough to again dispel the notion that I might need a new car.

This becomes a long story...

I have three pairs of sunglasses. I have a linen closet filled with shoes. I have an entire closet shelf devoted to my handbags. I have a new mattress and so last night slept for the first time in our new place on my old bed.

I have more than I could ever possibly need. And I have a car that runs perfectly well.

As much as I am part of a culture of individuals consuming everything in their path, I do not need everything. In fact, it is entirely possible that I don't need anything else. [It should come as no surprise to anyone who read Small Wonder that I read the Fat Brother/Grand Canyon chapter this morning. And if you haven't read it, you'll probably enjoy it.]

Just as the existence of my body is political, so is my wallet [which isn't even a wallet; it's a Palm Pilot - more excess, but less paper]. As nothing I buy is a need, I think about the statements I make with my purchases. Everything I buy is essentially an endorsement.

It's a different (and often rather exhausting) way to look at your consumption. It's not easy to do all the time (I try to remind myself, but I fail all too often). Still, I have to ask myself sometimes: what have you endorsed this week?

It gets complicated, of course: endorsing fat acceptance may sometimes accidentally endorse sweatshops. Or classist values. I'm thinking specifically about the Old Navy t-shirt I'm wearing today. The Old Navy may have embraced the slightly fat, but Gap Inc. has also come under fire for its manufacturing practices, and it's hard not to notice the class implications of their three separate store lines. Does the fact that I've had this shirt for a couple of years (therefore not endorsing the fashion industry's call for new wardrobes every season) balance out the insult of endorsing Gap Inc.?

It's complicated. But in a culture so fixated on money and things, you have to consider the weight of yours.

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