I'm Not Paying $50 for a Hamburger!
August 1st, 2008
Those who regularly read my articles know that I am a horrendous tightwad. If this is your first time to Acid Logic and you haven't read any of my stuff, I'll go ahead and reiterate that I am one of the cheapest bastards on the planet.
I'd like to say that I get the occasional e-mail asking why I'm so cheap, but that would be a lie. The only e-mail I get from my readers are those who don't know when I'm being sarcastic, but I'm sure that someone wants to know why I'm such a miser. Forbis, can I get an editor's note please? (Ed. Note- So Johnny, why so cheap?)
Glad you asked, Wil. There are plenty of reasons why I'm a tightwad. First, I don't have a ton of money so I budget myself. A lot. Second, there are a lot of things that I have no use for, like a high-def TV (I enjoy TV plenty with low def), surround sound for the HDTV I don't have, and top-of-the-line speakers for the top-of-the-line stereo I will never own.
But the biggest reason is that I just don't think a certain things are worth a ton of money. Disposable goods, decorations and clothes are just the top of the list.
Let's face it, food is the most temporary thing we buy. It's an absolute necessity for survival, but we eat it, take the nutrients and then flush it down the toilet. That's all.
Now don't get me wrong, I love to eat, and I'm not going to eat something that tastes like crap, but I hate paying fifty bucks for something that my body is just going to turn into manure.
I once went to a restaurant where the cheapest thing on the menu was a fifteen dollar cheeseburger. Now the description led me to believe that this was indeed the best burger on the planet --- slices of cheese hand-picked by experts flown in from Belgium, buns bakes by a famous TV chef and beef taken from cows genetically altered to be extra tasty.
In the end, I paid fifteen bucks for a burger that was pretty good, but not even close to worth that price. It wasn't even the best cheeseburger I'd ever had; that award goes to Gunther Toody's, a Colorado restaurant chain with burgers from heaven and cheese fries that are better than sex. I would say that the best part was the price (seven to eight bucks a plate, give or take) but the fact that it's a '50's style diner is even better since it's a proven detail that listening to Elvis while you eat prevents possession by Satanic demons. And if Gunther Toody's gets better business because of this article, I expect a thank you.
I'm a movie buff, and as a result, I own a decent movie collection. When I buy cheap food, the money I save will occasionally go towards a DVD.
But even when buying movies, I still have limits. If I see him a movie I'd like to own but it has two discs crammed with special features and an inflated price as a result, I'm waiting for a one-disc edition or for this one to hit the bargain bin at Wal-Mart (can't beat a six dollar movie).
"But Johnny", someone's bound to be saying, "the second disc has so many great special features!"
So what? With all the DVD's I own (roughly 150) I have watched about a total of three special features. I hate the running commentary because then I can't hear the movie over when the director is complaining about hemorrhoids, and I only look at a "making of" featurette when I want to know about how a fight scene or a gun fight was coordinated (and when you see that once or twice, it's always the same). All I'm interested in is the movie, not the movies about the movie.
Everyone should thank their preferred deities daily that I keep my ass covered at all times. But I don't cover it with anything Armani or Louis Vitton, and I never will. Why? Because the cheap jeans I get from Target keep it out of view just as well as something that would cost me three times as much.
I can see it now, I'll go to the Academy Awards for being nominated for a screenplay I have yet to write, and they'll ask everyone what designer suit they're wearing. When they get to me, all I will say is "hell if I know, this came out of a JC Penny's". This will probably get some airtime on a silly "fashion don'ts" show, but I'm not spending a few thousand on a suit I'll wear once every ten years when my senior prom suit fits just fine. It's been pointed out to me several times that anything stylish
costs money, but high fashion is pretty far down the inventory of things that interest me. I'm a t-shirt and jeans guy. It's comfortable, it's functional and the price is right. If someone thinks I'm a bum or an evil prick just because I don't wear anything from the Gap (Ed. Note and --- Johnny, you really must be cheap if you consider The Gap "high fashion."), then the hell with them. I like my AC/DC and Chris Isaak shirts more than you're ninety dollar polos.
There are a fair number of artists who's work I greatly admire. Thomas Cole's "Dream of Arcadia" is awe inspiring, Dali had incredible talent for being such a weirdo, and both Manet and Monet are as impressive as they come.
But why spend thirty bucks on a poster print of their works (or a few million for the real things) when I can hang up an awesome "Escape from New York" poster instead? Sure, it's not high class but that's never been my finest attribute. It pretties up the place just as well as the nuclear explosion poster on the wall across from it or the Gillian Anderson poster in the room across the hall. And I for one would rather stare at that pretty lady than a Van Gogh reprint any day.
So that's that. I'm cheap because I don't think certain things are worth my hard earned money. What is significant enough to spend a fair amount of cash on? Trips to the movie theatre, books (maybe even the occasional rare book I seldom times score on eBay), and gas to get to the theatre and book stores.
While a small part of me likes to think that this meager writing has helped spawn a few more tightwads in this world, I also see the downfall to this. If everyone was as cheap as me, gourmet chefs would be out of work, the fashion industry would plummet and the DVD companies would take a hit too. And the last thing I need is that Emiril guy sharing an office with me.
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