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Comfort means more than material wealth

Posted on June 5, 2021

OpinionColumns

Joe Weaver

Joe Weaver

I had always wondered about people who, when asked if they would like a life different from the one they had, would almost always say they just wanted to be comfortable.

Once in a while, someone would explain how he or she wanted to be financially comfortable, but that comfort always involved a sports car, a boat and a house at the beach. I’m sure that is someone’s idea of comfort, but that would just cause me worry.

I asked one guy about being comfortable and he said it meant he could have all the beer and pulled pork he could ever want. I suppose after a while, he might not be physically comfortable, but his cardiologist would be financially comfortable.

The woman down the street from me, when asked, told me she would be comfortable if I got off her porch because she didn’t invite the (expletive deleted) press on her (expletive deleted) porch and if I did not leave right that second, she was going to call the (expletive deleted) cops.

While it seems that everyone I spoke to wanted to be comfortable, their ideas of comfort seemed varied, to say the least.

I wasn’t sure the folks I had asked understood the idea of comfort. For a lot of them, comfort tended to revolve around Things. The capitalization of Things is deliberate. Things, with a capital T, are important. Actually, they are things, with a lowercase T, that people merely perceive as important.

Health is important. Wealth, on the other hand, while important to some, is incidental to others. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not necessarily saying a pauper has it better than a prince in all instances, but it does have its moments.

There is a guy I know who relates everything to how much money someone has. More than once, he has suggested I work where he works. I can make more money there than I do already. Sure, the hours are weird sometimes, but I would make more money than I know what to do with.

This is also the guy who complains all the time when he is busy at work. I figure he has a lot of money because he doesn’t have the time to spend any of it. His job doesn’t sound so fun either.

I took a quick inventory of my life not long ago. If that sounds like one of those goofy new catchphrases, it’s because that is exactly what it is. I don’t like taking inventory anywhere. It’s boring and repetitive. I used the catchphrase to sound current and timely and I get paid by the word, so the more verbose and longwinded I am, the more money I make.

Newspapers are not where you want to get rich. I am aware that sort of contradicted the previous paragraph, but I did that to make sure you were paying attention and not reading ahead. I heard one of the regular readers admitted to skimming the column most weeks, so I am writing this paragraph to single you out, Roger Terwilliger of Downers Grove, Illinois.

I like to say I am comfortable. I have job security. I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful daughters who are doing well for themselves and two grandsons who are fine young gentlemen. My wife and I have a little house with a little yard with a little garden. There are squirrels and rabbits and birds who visit us regularly. We have a close circle of friends who visit us, and we visit them as well.

We have a few nice Things (with a capital T). We have one relatively newish car and one old truck. There is food on our table every day. While we have the occasional challenge, our health is OK. It’s not fantastic, but we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. We are a middle-aged couple who live with two cats.

It’s quite simple, really. We don’t need sports cars or boats or houses at the beach. I do have this old armchair that I sit in to watch television. It’s kind of old and battered and the colors don’t match the rest of the room, but it’s got something that a lot of chairs don’t have.

It’s comfortable.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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