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My problem isn't counting.  I can count just fine.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  But, really, we all have stuff, stuff we've accumulated over the years.

Or take books at about $10 each, average.  I don't even know where to begin.  Hell, I don't even know how many blank Moleskine diaries I own, so I don't want to get started on actual printed books.  I can tell you that the last time I moved, my books filled up about (key word there) 14 U-Haul small boxes.  Holy shit, right?  Right!  

Take DVDs at, oh, $14 each, average.  I don't know how many videos I own.  I could guess, but I'd have a good chance of being wrong.  I know some of them.  The entire Buffy the Vampire Chosen Collection DVD box set, for example.  Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming.  The Alienseses box set (Alien3 was genius, you fucking haters).  Some proselytizing video titled "Jesus" that I can't bring myself to throw away even though it's been sitting on various iterations of my video rack for going on 6 years now.  The aggregate value is probably significant, but I couldn't give you a definite count.  

Ok, how about pants?  No clue.  10 pairs?  Are we counting jeans?  I own three pairs of jeans, one of which hasn't been washed in 6 months.  Yes, yes, ewwwwwww.  But they never leave the house. On me.  What they do on their own time would probably shock and horrify me, though to be honest I've never actually seen them get up and walk on their own.  But I really don't know how many pants I own, and they're not cheap.  What, $50-60 each, counting work clothes?

MP3s?  Well, my iPod is nice enough to tell me how many of those I own.  Among them are at least 7 of them are remixes of the Numa Numa song that I bought from iTunes after a few too many glasses of wine.  Ask me what I'm doing right now.  Yes, I'm doing the Numa Numa dance.  Mai a heeeee, mai a hooooo, mai a haaaaaa, mai a ah-ah!

Going back to things I'm not sure about, I don't know how many CAT5 cables I own.  That's an obscure one, especially for a lawyer, but I used to be a network and software guy, so I guess it's reasonable.  Hell, I probably have a few switches and wireless access points squirreled away in the dark corners of a closet somewhere.  

Similarly, I don't know how many shoes I own.  Not, I should point out, because I have a giant closet full of shoes.  No, like many men, I have three pairs of shoes that I rotate throughout the week, plus some Birks (because I'm a goddamned hippie, if a somewhat domesticated, preppy one), and this natty old pair of shoes I'm wearing now that haven't seen socks since the 20th Century.  But I've surely got some old tennis shoes hidden away somewhere.  Surely.  

I do know that I have one cat.  I won't say I own this cat, because the cat (like the rest of his devil-breed) spends more time owning me than the other way 'round.  And, no, he doesn't talk in lolcat.  He speaks in perfectly grammatical, if horrifically profane, English.  Like, when I step on his tail, I can imagine him very clearly yelling "Dude, what the fuck do you think you're doing?! Jesus!"  Still, one cat.

Moving up to big-ticket items (sorry cat), I own one TV.  And one x-box.  And one cell phone.  Oh, wait, two, because I have a Blackberry for work.  Two, TWO, cell phones, ah ah ah ah ah ah ahhhhh!

Here's a controversial one: I own three guns.  Yep, three.  I used to hunt, and I've inherited a few over the years.  Now they're just taking up space in a closet (with no ammunition in the house, unless you're casing my house for a burglary, in which case there are machine gun turrets installed in the hallway.. be warned).

I own one car.  Or at least 80% of a car.  The bank owns the rest.  

And I own about 27% of an education.  I'm paying Sallie Mae for the rest, and I'll keep paying until I'm 50.  

And one solitary house.  Well, 2% of a house.  Again, the bank owns the rest.  But I'm making progress!  Woo!

So what's my point?  Here's my point: I'm a pack rat and I have too much shit.  

But here's my other point: I have a job that pays me reasonably well.  I mean, some would say I'm still dirt poor because I'm not making $5,000,000.00 per year (just to pick a number out of the air).  But I do ok.  And I still know how many fucking houses I own.  And all the stuff I can't count easily?  Well, it may be disgraceful that I can't enumerate all my belongings, but I can also tell you with certainty that the aggregate value of all that lost stuff still doesn't equal anything near FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS!!

I'm a white, Southern male.  I grew up hunting and I own a Jeep.  I know how to clean a fish.  I grew up around the military.  I like capitalism.  You'd think I'd be perfect fodder for being one of McCain's ACES.  But John McCain doesn't know shit about my life, how I live, what I want my community to be.  How do I know?  Because he doesn't know how many fucking houses he owns.

Disgraceful.

The "Dammit, shit hell!" Update: I forgot why I was writing this diary in the first place.  I commented earlier that each of the categories of uncounted things I own (i.e., pants) would likely have an aggregate value of less than $1,000.00.  Maybe $2,000.00 in books.  Hell, could be more for books, but I think that's ok.  The point is that we all have things that we own that we forget.  But as the prices go up relative to our incomes, we tend to have a clearer and clearer idea of just how much of our wealth is tied up in this or that.  But for most of us, the uncounted "things" of any one type probably aggregate to something less than $1,000.00.  I don't begrudge John and Cindy McCain their wealth (no, really, I don't), but I do have to wonder how much perspective they have if $14,000,000.00 is below their "I'm not worried about it" threshold.  Not an original thought, but I needed to rant.

Originally posted to socratic on Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 08:12 PM PDT.

Poll

How many houses would McCain have to have for it to be ok that he can't remember how many he has?

2%1 votes
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9%4 votes
4%2 votes
2%1 votes
9%4 votes
9%4 votes
24%10 votes
19%8 votes

| 41 votes | Vote | Results

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