people would rather be right than happy

when i was a teenager, my good buddy riley was arguing with his mom about something. she was 100% incorrect about whatever they were talking about but she absolutely refused to drop it or admit she was wrong. i thought it was embarrassing, and in reference to the argument later, riley said that people would rather be right than happy.

that line has always stuck with me. i think he was right. even though his mom would have felt better if she had simply admitted she was wrong — because it takes strength of mind to admit mistakes and that’s still something to be proud of, almost like a consolation prize — she preferred to dig her heels in even further at the cost of making herself look dumber and feel more upset.

fast forward to the last few days. i bought a bass on ebay recently and while i generally love the thing, there is some wear and damage that was not mentioned in the auction and needs to be taken care of. i will do the repairs myself but i thought the seller should be held responsible for not advertising the bass accurately so i lied and asked for a $75 refund to cover the cost of having it professionally repaired. he said no way, that’s way too much, do it yourself and i’ll refund you $20. we’ve gone back and forth several times now, each of us obviously getting more annoyed with the situation, until i reached a point where i could feel myself getting really pissed off about it.

then i thought about riley’s mom, and i asked myself, why am i getting so emotionally involved in this? do i really care this much about a few dollars difference in refund? i realized that i’m getting bent out of shape over peanuts, that he cares about this more than i do, and that he has more energy to devote to this than i do. even though this guy fucked up in the first place and has said some stupid bullshit to me in the followup conversations and i want to put my finger in his chest and tell him what’s what, i’ve made the decision to choose happiness (like i’ve talked about before here), let go of this, and say, “looks like you were right buddy, i’ll take the $20 refund and be on my merry way.”

i suppose you could look at it as admitting defeat but i think cutting losses and doing what makes you happier is usually the wiser choice.

god, i’m so fucking zen. now this prick just has to send me my god damn refund so i can put this headache behind me.

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self portrait. ommmmmm

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to everything, an unavoidable and frustrating challenge

a few months ago, jenn and i decided to get a second dog to keep our first dog, stella, company. we decided we wanted a dog of a similar age, size, and temperament so that they would be more likely to get along well and play together when they are at home in the yard. we searched a lot and found a dog named laika that seemed like a good fit. we brought stella to meet laika and they got along great. we had a second meeting that also went well, so we took laika home.

then everything went to shit.

laika had never been walked off-leash so we had some significant challenges training her on that. then we found she was not socialized enough with groups of dogs and became aggressive in those situations. then we found that stella is actually very possessive of her home and she wound up attacking laika many times. then laika attacked one of our chickens. then, only two weeks after we got her, laika ruptured her ACL.

so here we are, 6 weeks into her recovery from the knee injury. it seems to be going well so far. the other issues have mostly been sorted out too — laika is now better about off leash walks, meeting groups of dogs, and her and stella rarely get on each others nerves. so it’s been a real pain in the ass but it’s getting better and will eventually be fine.

however, i can’t help but wonder sometimes how much easier things would have been if we picked one of the other dogs we had looked at. it’s so easy to think the grass looks greener on the other side. so i’m trying to remind myself when i do that, that stella would have been just as much of a bitch to any other dog, and if the other dog was not as easygoing as laika, we could have ended up with them actually hurting each other during their scraps instead of just posturing. that would have been really bad. or if we got a puppy, which maybe stella would have been less pushy and dominant with, we’d then be dealing with all the other bullshit that goes along with puppies: house training them, teaching them not to chew everything, starting all their basic obedience from scratch. that would be a huge and frustrating commitment too.

so i use this to remind myself that even though i’m annoyed with how things have gone with laika so far, it wouldn’t have necessarily been any better with any other dog. it may have been slightly better or worse, but it would most likely have been a comparably challenging experience. and i think that view applies to most things in life. everything presents its own unique challenges so it’s impossible to say — even with hindsight — that choosing one house, or partner, or career, or anything else, over any other options would have been any better. as long as i make careful decisions based on the best information i have available at the time, i can’t beat myself up over those decision when things don’t go perfectly. because that’s just life.

look at me, being so zen and buddha-like. how pretentious.

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the zen of junk

i don’t think there’s any point in having nice stuff. nice stuff is expensive and i worry about it getting damaged. why drop a bunch of money on something that is going to cause you stress? for the bragging rights of having a shiny truck or house? pfffft. fuck it. that’s for shallow, superficial cunts.

i prefer to have things that are inexpensive but work just fine. if the majority of the cost of an item is for its glossy appearance, i’ll pass on the glossy bullshit and take the cheaper thing that does the same job — i’d rather save that money for things that actually matter, like buying a bigger piece of land that will grant me more privacy, or retiring early.

why bother with shit like this? oh yeah, because you’re a shallow status-driven psychopath.

having ugly old stuff means that i don’t care if someone opens their car door into mine and leaves a new dent. so what? there are lots of other dings on it already and it still runs just as great as before so who cares? or if a friend accidentally scratches my kitchen table while carving pumpkins on it, same thing — it’s already scratched, what’s another one? some people might even argue those scratches add character to the thing. i just don’t care either way. i mean, i don’t want people to trash my stuff, but things happen and items age and wear over time. i’m not into fighting that.

i also like making use of stuff that is already in the world and still perfectly good. why make more shit when we already have lots of stuff that works? i don’t want to support the demand for china to ship more fucking junk over here for dimwits to buy, break 3 weeks later, throw out, and buy again, walmart-style. there’s enough plastic and toxic shit in our landfills as it is that i don’t need to contribute to it.

fuck walmart. i hope they all get swallowed in earthquakes.

and i like to fix my shit when it breaks rather than buy new stuff. i think a lot of shit gets tossed when all it needs is a $3 part. for instance, we have a cool old lamp but it stopped working a few weeks ago. i figured there are just two wires that go to a switch so it couldn’t be that hard to mess with. i took it apart, replaced the switch with one from another lamp we weren’t using anymore, and BLAM it works again. that’s satisfying, really satisfying. when i was a kid, i was amazed by my dad because it seemed like he could fix anything. now i can fix all kinds of stuff too, and i feel really fucking good about that.

with all this stuff in mind, i can’t imagine why people would want to buy new shit all the time. they’d probably be less stressed, have more money, and create less waste if they didn’t. oh well, fuck them. if people want to dig their own graves, let them, i guess.