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Coveting is a Cancer and a Killjoy (or How I bought a New TV)

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Old posts from the original Blackframes site

Coveting is a Cancer and a Killjoy (or How I bought a New TV)

Lach Ryan


A week or so back I bought a new TV. Earlier the same week I also got an ‘all clear’ from a type of medical test you want clearance from. These two things are unrelated. In a way.

The Doctor didn’t say “Well Mr Ryan you don’t have cancer, so I recommend you go out and buy a new TV.”

Me: “Really?”

Dr: “Yes its standard medical practice now. Last week I informed a woman her haemorrhoids would clear without surgery, then I advised her to get a new fridge.”

Me: “I see. What’s the thinking behind this? Some sort of psycho-physiological positive reinforcement? Treating my body for not been crap?”

Dr: “Yes that and my brother-in-law manages the local Good Guys. You pay less for cash there, you know.”

So out I went and saw Dr Senjakrumi’s brother Devon and got myself a great deal on a new TV.

Basically the situation was that our old TV had died. Not of cancer, but just old age. The set went and with it our belief that we could possibly entertain ourselves without it (not before a week and a half of dusty board games and half finished e-books).

Going into the electronics store, my aim had been to get a 42inch LED TV. The old set we had was 32inch plasma that looked more 2003 than a popped-collar on a polo shirt.

Walking through the maze of plastic LED walls, I passed the 32inch screens that once had satisfied my eyes. But next door to them was the future... all 42 inches of it. Those extra pixels cried out to me ‘Look. Look.’ Then I realised it just was an excited Vietnamese man hidden by the screen, showing his wife his latest discovery... a 50inch Full HD LED monster. Seeing me captivated by the Vietnamese gent’s set, the sales guy casually remarked “Why settle for 42inch when you can have 50inch? In comparison, 42inch just seems so small! You know now that you have seen it, you will always want bigger.”

There it was. The problem with everything. Until a few moments before, I was stoked with the 42inch set! It was 10 whole inches bigger than anything I had previously known. Then along came the Look-Look guy and his 50 inches of fury, and I had to have it.

I realised this act was symbolic. We are always coveting the next, literally, best thing. From iPhones to jobs, houses to partners, clothes to cars, holidays to food. Why can’t we be happy with what we’ve got? Can we not just enjoy it and be thankful for the fact that we actually have IT and not worry about upgrading or chasing THAT?

Unfortunately I am very competent at that type of behaviour. I did buy the 50inch screen but only because I got a deal where it was a $20 difference from the 42inch. Since I have had it, most of my friends that have come over have said... “Wow. It’s bigger than ours.” Then turning to their other: “I think we need to look at getting a new one too. It’s getting too small.” Last time I checked with the vet, TV’s don’t shrink with old age.

As broken humans we are conditioned to want what we don’t have. Pascal will tell you it is a God-shaped hole we are all trying to fill. I tend to agree, but that then means that God looks an awful lot like electrical appliances, crossed with a clothing rack and a sprinkling of Apple products. God actually was onto this early with his 10th Commandment, or as he called it - coveting.

In one month or one year, my new TV will be just my TV. Eventually it won’t even matter to me. Not in an immaterial sense, but a my-TV-is-now-old way. It’s been said many times before, but all these feelings pass and we need to be happy what we have now. Our partners, our friends, our house, our food...our health. It only takes a few days of waiting for a Doctors test result, with a your health on the line, to make you realise what you have is enough... and that it could, and eventually one day will, be all gone.

50inch is great, but 42inch is fine. For now. Soon they both won’t matter and that can be sooner than you think. But hey, everyone loves a bargain!