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Monday, September 17, 2012

Instant gratification is the problem.

Last night, around 6:00 PM, my 14-year old son was hungry. He let me know this fact, by suddenly and loudly exclaiming: "I'm hungry!" So I told him to have a corndog. "In fact," I said, "I'll have one too." I turned on the oven to 350° and then sat back down with my book. Trey looked at this, and then looked at me in disbelief and said with a kind of Elvis-lipped sneer: "I'm not waiting on the oven!" He put his corndog in the microwave and set it for one minute.

One minute later he ate his crappy corndog. The breading looked softer than a pancake. It was split-open and falling off of the hot-dog. Trey let me know that his microwaved corndog was delicious. Sure it was. Twenty-five minutes later I had my corndog. It was lightly browned. It was crisp, sweet, and—most vitally important—it was intact. You only get so many corndogs. You only get so many meals when it comes right down to it. Some people fail to realize this simple fact and they settle. Maybe they're in a hurry. Maybe they're short of cash. Maybe they're really hungry. Whatever the reason, they cheat themselves. They eat something that's just not that great. It's okay. It's food. Now they're not hungry anymore. I have to shake my head in disbelief at the short-sighted idiocy of settling for something that is inferior yet quick, instead of waiting for the perfection that can only be achieved in the fullness of time.

It's not the wisdom of age. I won't believe that, because my wife is just like my son. She's my age, and after all these years she'd still rather have "okay" now, than wait a little while longer for great. This short-sighted impatience is noticeable throughout the American experience. We want the American dream, but we don't want to wait for it. We want the nice home in the nice neighborhood. We want the two-car garage complete with two cars—one being an SUV—and we want the picket-fence. We rush into having a couple of kids and soon after, Fido.

The United States is sixteen trillion dollars in debt. (16,000,000,000,000.00) At some point the numbers just kind of run together and become meaningless. I wonder if that's the problem? My good friend at Hankering For History was kind enough to send me a link which provides a little perspective. By watching the following video, you may be able to begin to conceptualize the unimaginable enormity of our national debt:

What is debt? The best way to describe it that I've ever come up with is instant gratification. You get what you want now, and then you pay for it later. No matter what kind of debt it is however, when you read the fine print it's always a bad deal.
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:12-13, KJV
Our bellies have overruled our minds and as a result we've been fed a dog's dinner. I could ask at what point will we put down our forks and push away the nauseous mess they've been feeding us, but we are so very hungry aren't we?

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