July 29, 2008

Just Stuff

Today's earthquake got me thinking. If a really bad quake hit, and the house got knocked down, or all the stuff in it got burned up, what would my reaction be?

I'd be bummed, of course. But assuming that The Wife and the critters were okay, I could only think of a few things that would really bother me if I lost them. Most of the stuff can be replaced, and that's what insurance is for. It would only be things that would be really difficult, or impossible, to replace. The Brett Favre autographed football would be tough but not impossible to replace. Backup data for the computer would be difficult, but I've had to start over from scratch with computer data before. We've got some nice wedding gifts around. The Wife has some old pictures that would be gone forever. She has some old furniture that's better-made than anything contemporary, but it's been beat up pretty good by a lot of moving and dogs gnawing on it and other parts of life.

But most of our stuff is just -- stuff. Not fungible, no more valuable than any other couple's stuff. Replaceable, and indeed replacing it all would, in the long run, probably be more of an opportunity and a blessing than keeping what we've got. We just hang on to our stuff because it would be expensive and inconvenient to replace most of it all at once.

Even the house could be replaced. Because the land wouldn't go anywhere, and we have earthquake insurance, so we would have a new house rebuilt. Maybe even the foundations wouldn't survive an earthquake, so we could get a similar-sized house designed just the way we would want it to be, with even more modern fixtures and things than this early-nineties job that we've got now -- not that it's bad, but we could replace it with another house and it would be just fine with us.

It's just stuff. There's no need to be emotionally attached to it. Think about yourself, Reader -- if you lost all your stuff all at once, you'd be bummed, too, but would it be more than that? Would you be crushed? How much of your stuff could you lose now, and not replace, and never notice any real difference in your life? The less attached you are to the stuff, I predict, the happier you would would be.

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