Bill by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

There are some for whom the daily habit of counting and weighing one’s wealth is highly desirable, right up there with the morning constitutional and cold showers. For others the accumulation of wealth holds less precise attraction, among them the spendthrifts who view the primary purpose of money as its expenditure. The impulsive urge to throw some serious money at the current object of one’s craving is however not exceptional. Nor is it solely the fixation of those who have the money to throw (notable historical spendthrifts include Karl Marx, George IV of Great Britain, King Ludwig of Bavaria and Marie Antoinette). In that respect impetuous spending is both egalitarian and universally indiscriminate irrespective of the means one has to accomplish the goal of one`s enterprise, cash or credit, it matters not. Like any other appetite disbursement is merely a hunger we need to satisfy, some would say even a manifestation of our need to substantiate ourselves. Commingled with that vulgar desire is the complementary passion for the article of purchase, the worth and charm of which in our mind at least normally trumps any ignobility of the engagement. Whatever it is to which you have so intensely attached yourself it is branded as some kind of compulsion, both a necessity and even an obligation. More often than not the enthusiasm has matured over time. It is a yearning which has blossomed from innocuous incubation, at first a frivolous and passing temptation but one which latterly becomes pure inevitability. There will of course be the tiresome echoes of those who abhor covetousness and who shrewdly counsel restraint in matters of financial soundness. Such worrywarts! If on the other hand you have once tasted the exhilaration of a spree, you know well its spiritual unassailability. Like it or not, in spite of the economic persuasiveness of control of one’s capital resources, the unadorned fact is that from time to time a bit of luxury goes a long way to alleviate the throbbing of life’s trials. We end by effortlessly persuading ourselves of the respectability of being mollycoddled. The more inclined you are to accomplishment, the more prone you are to rewarding its burdens. Compensation is not a dirty word; it is the elevation of life’s successes.

Like so many other magnetisms and hungers, the experience of the longing is a good deal of the allure. Even with the speed of on-line purchases, there is always a wait, a fact all the more prolonged if the product is made-to-measure. This only achieves heightened pining. Rationality about parsimoniousness by degrees dissolves in the contemplation of what we seek to acquire. We view the thing in a clinical light, detached from the rough and tumble of our daily familiarity, conveniently forgetting that in the past there wasn`t once a purchase which did anything to lift us above the squalor of our being. As bright and shiny as it may appear to be, there is not a thing which will ever epitomize the perfection we initially harbour of it in our thoughts. Yet we persist. While we acknowledge there is no ship to take us away from ourselves, we invariably convince ourselves that at least there is some hopefulness of diverting our sensibilities howsoever briefly. It is that rush of trading our cerebral aptitudes for the visceral pleasures which energizes us. The product for which we ache may be a gentle incentive to keep on keeping on, the fuel of our dreams and the titivation of our home or person. Unless one chooses to live like a hermit, exercise of the bargaining tools is very much a part of the colloquial dialect. People enjoy their stuff. There is in fairness considerable personal pleasure to be wrought from material objects. Besides which the shopkeepers depend upon us to nurture their own survival, though frankly I doubt whether any materialist has ever considered his proclivity as altruistic.

Acquisition is for some a horrid illness – consider the notorious hoarders. For the most part however accumulation can be a pleasant undertaking especially if it is unique and not merely repetitive as with so many stashers who excuse their compulsiveness as the career of a collector. If instead one takes the time to deliberate upon the meaning of the article which one desires, and if one is at last convinced of its utility (for whatever reason), getting it is acceptable. While its procurement may not sanitize our existence, it may nonetheless provide moments of gratification.