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The Lesson

Here we are, th

e end of July and my annual month on Cape Cod is coming to an end. And though this winter will probably fly by, still, it’s a long wait to July 1, 2016.

As usual, it’s been a super fun month. Daily bike rides along the Canal, stand up paddle boarding on our pond, late afternoon strolls on the beach after the tourists have gone back to their motel rooms (Cape Codders know this is the best time to visit the beach), barbeques, evening ice cream cones, even a seal cruise in Orleans, and just an all around good time spent with friends and relatives who come for visits.

But no “Felice Vacation” is complete without projects accomplished. The garage freed of another year’s accumulation, the backyard shed cleaned out (and dead mice removed, thanks George!), closet clutter removed, etc. Yet despite the good feeling I get when I’ve returned from another trip to the dump or to Goodwill, I always am conscious of the money spent to acquire these expendables. I’m not the only one who thinks about this.

“This may not work,” Dad said, removing a first generation Palm Pilot in pristine condition from the garbage. “But it’s a classic… and it was expensive.”

I sighed. “I know it was, but still, it’s worthless now.”

At one point everything we bought was for a good reason: to wear, to read or for “efficiency.” On very many occasions though, in time the item will become irrelevant. It breaks, shrinks, or is superseded by Version X. (The last Palm Pilot update was at least 10 years ago.)

So how do you keep your possession-bulk at a reasonable level? I’ve concluded that you simply have to be merciless when it comes to purchasing in the first place. Ask, “Do I really need this or am I buying it mostly because I can?” We can justify disposal by giving our “Buh-byes” to those in need, but if we keep buying stuff we don’t need, guess who’s going to become the needy one?

As I wrestled the Palm Pilot from my dad’s hands, he said, “But the kids might like to play with it.” I pointed out that the kids would take one look at it and when they realized it didn’t connect to Wi-Fi, it would be discarded faster than the dead mice from our shed.

Thus ended the lesson.

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