What I Need

I’ve bought quite a few things in my lifetime: from action figures to board games, to tools, to art supplies, to the things I carry every day. But did I really need any of that stuff? Probably not. I could probably argue that my EDC (every-day carry) stuff is pretty necessary in my day-to-day life based on how much I use it, but I don’t think it would qualify in anybody’s bare-bone definition of “need”.

What everyone needs is obviously food, water, (in theory) shelter, and the ability to obtain those items. All of the things I “needed” to complete those collections, fill out my EDC, or upgrade my toolset probably weren’t that necessary. But I think I did “need” some of them. Not in the “food and water equals life” sense, but in the “helps me obtain life necessities” sense (the tools), and in the “I have enough resources to get something extra that doesn’t interfere with basic survival” sense.

They might not be things I need, but I can afford them without taking away from mine (or anyone else’s) means of living. In many cases I’m either supporting the company that makes them directly, or the endeavors of the local charity shops. And since I take good care of my stuff I end up with a lot of it, and with a lot of it comes the constant need to justify what I “need”. Do I “need” all of this stuff? If not, why do I have it? Well, I like it, it lets me have fun, and in several cases it gives me an activity to do with friends. It helps me learn new skills to both simply be a more educated person and help friends and family who might be in need.

Now most of it is me just asking myself, but sometimes it’s other people asking “do you really need all of this?” or “What are you gonna do with that thing?” And really, I admit to not being the best person ever, but: I’ve given to people who needed it, donated to charities, recycled and reused many of my disposable items, not stolen from anyone, gotten my basic needs taken care of, and not created a giant pile of stuff that will fall over and kill me or breed disease like a cesspool. I think I can decide I’m at a point where what I “need” isn’t all that needs to be considered when I intend to purchase something.

Now that’s not to say I buy things at random, or that I should “over buy”. Or that I’m too high and mighty to consider what I really need. But I think that I (or you) after basic needs are taken care of (food, water, shelter, safety, backups, etc) have been taken care of, shouldn’t have to justify absolutely every purchase in my mind or to others with “needing” it. It overcomplicates things and puts too much emotional influence on the object. It’s just a thing, and I like things, but I don’t need them.

So… I was getting a cat out from behind the water heater.

So… I was getting a cat out from behind the water heater.

Okay, let me back up. It was the morning of Independence Day (U.S.) and I was sleeping late because two days earlier I had been plagued with terrible headaches and I didn’t want that to repeat. So I was getting up at around 10, or at least that was my plan. I had been in a semiconscious state for about ten minutes when I heard a crash. I then heard my Mom calling a name I recognized as a cat. (The cat isn’t ours but she insisted on calling him ‘Mike’) After I heard some more thumping for a few moments, I got up, descended my ladder, and walked into the living room. One the floor was a shattered CD case of an MST3K recording and several books. I continued out to the kitchen where my Mother informed me that ‘Mike’ had gotten in and was being chased around the house by our indoor cat. As I entered, Mother was able to shut the pantry door, trapping him on what was once a back porch. She left to go around and open the back door, I decided the simpler thing to do was to open the door carefully and then open the back, which I did, but not before the cat ran to the other side of the room and tucked himself into the corner.

After several minutes with the back door open we declared him out and closed it. Inspecting things to see what had fallen over, I found that ‘Mike’ was still very much tucked in the corner next to the water heater. After obtaining some gloves and opening the back door, I tried to gently pick him up and put him outside. He did not agree with this plan. The second my hand got near him he began jumping like a flea straight up the wall. After several unsuccessful jumps he managed to grab onto the water heater’s edge. How I have no idea, because, if you’ve ever seen a water heater you know, there’s nowhere to grab. After a few awkward dangling moments he was on top. From my now inferior position I tried to coax him toward the door. Instead he looked in the other direction and found the corner between the wall and the heater. As I reached to block the hole, and hopefully push him down, he decided ‘bombs away’ and jumped head first into said hole.

So now we had a trapped cat. Looking through a small space between the heater and wall revealed an eye, and some ear twitching. At this moment we had to wake my Father, who would know how to shut off the water. It turned into shutting off the water to the whole house due to the fact that the heater has no cutoff. We then drained the heater, which took the better part of an hour.

The problem with an empty water heater is that there is still no good way to move it. Especially if it’s as shoddily worked into an old shoddy house as mine. The house was done well, but to say the utilities weren’t is an understatement. Anyway, we had to disconnect the water and the gas, and even then there were several unbendable pipes that allowed for virtually no movement on the part of the heater. After fifteen minutes we managed to move the bottom enough so that ‘Mike’ could turn right-side up. At this point we decided to let him jump up on his own, so we put a board in under him (he was already standing on the trim) and moved it slowly up. He jumped just above it each time until he was again on the top of the heater.

At this point I backed away having seen this very afraid cat leap up into windows, claws bared, about an hour ago. My Father, however, reached for him, I assume to pick him up. At this point he exploded into a ball of kitty fury and somehow landed on the floor. As I quickly scooted out of the way he burst past me and out the back door.

This was not how I wanted to spend the morning of the Fourth. But I assume it wasn’t how ‘Mike’ wanted to, either. I think however, unfortunately, it is safe to say, we won’t be seeing him any time soon. Probably for good reason. (Unfortunately as well, I got no pictures)

Speak Your Mind 98 #486-490


1. Why do you think dogs have such sharp teeth?

2. Do you think water from a well tastes different from city water?

3. Have you ever ridden in a helicopter?

4. Do you think you look nice today?

5. What kind of shampoo do you use?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. To kill things they hunt.

2. Yes, but which is better depends on the well and the city.

3. No, I have no real interest in it either.

4. I don’t think I look nice any day, so no.

5. Head and shoulders.