Friday, April 29, 2011


Splurging brings with it a fair amount of pressure; when one engages in some luxury (of any scale) that will not be feasible again soon (due to whatever restrictions one may have) it really needs to prove to be as good as anticipated. There's only room for disappointment with the commonplace.

Cases in point:

Although my wife and I used to go to the movies at least once a month, last year you could count the number of times we saw a film in the theater on one hand's fingers. It's not that we are broke; we simply chose to put our money toward other things.

But last month we decided to venture down to our local Cineplex for a Sunday matinee. It wasn't so much that a particular movie drew us there; it was the act of being out, of being in the darkened room and gazing at the big screen. So at the box office we were faced with deciding what to see, and she had some interest in the Bradley Cooper/Robert De Niro vehicle Limitless that had been out for a couple weeks. (We weren't even seeing a new release. I know.) The tale revolved around a failed novelist who gets this pill that allows him to access the unused parts of his brain, and this leads him to great success—as long as he keeps taking the pills.

While it was not without its moments, the film failed to live up to the promise of the trailer we'd seen on TV. But the real issue was not that the movie was, on its own, somewhat disappointing; it was that the one time in months we went to the movies we got stuck with a mediocre one, which made it seem actively worse than it would on its artistic merits alone.

Then last weekend we were at the San Diego Zoo as part of the modest mini-vacation we allowed ourselves. Beside the money, we've also been trying to lose weight. However, we really had a craving for a churro, so when we were in the mood for a snack we went to one of the food stands in the park and ordered one. Just one, which we shared.

After a bite it was clear the churro had been sitting around for a while, as it was somewhat dense inside. Neither of us finished our half, but not to save calories. And we got the last one, so there was no trading it for a "fresher" one. But the bad taste was exacerbated by the fact it was supposed to be a semi-rare treat.

The lesson is clear: Either indulge regularly, or never at all; the only-once-in-a-while option is too apt to backfire, and leave one having spent the money or ingested the calories, with no satisfaction to show for it.

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed that too! When you deny yourself a treat for a long time, somehow it's much less satisfying than you expected when you finally allow yourself a treat.


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