View Full Version : Rich by happenstance

13th Aug 2003, 08:38 AM
I was talking to a friend the other day about a movie I recieved as a gift - a VHS copy of Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" from my grandmother-inlaw. I was blessed that she was thoughtful enough to get me something (I wasn't really expecting anything), and that she took time to find out my interests (oddly enough, I always wanted to get a copy of the movie, pref dvd - just never got around to it).

So here is a paraphrase of how my conversation went:

*friend notices gladiator VHS tape.
friend: "gladiator, cool! that was a good movie."
me: "yeah, I liked it." [thumbs up]
friend: "wth?! it's VHS??"
me: "yeah, well, it was a gift. I still enjoyed it."
friend: "whatever, i wouldn't even watch that crap. I'd throw it away and buy myself the SE dvd."
me: "hey, I know it's not as good, but still it was nice gift and very thoughtful of my grandmother."
*friend wrinkles nose in disdain.
friend: "I wouldn't have even watched it. what a load of crap."
*me rolleyes.

Thinking upon it later, I was struck by how spoiled the conversation sounded. Don't get me wrong - I'm not on a white horse 'cause I'm just as guilty as making arrogant statements like that in plenty of other situations.

[begin preaching] ;)
Compared to 90% of the world population, I'd say that we all most probably experience a very high level of decadence and prosperity. I mean, we can bicker amongst ourselves about what the best video or soundcard is - or try to get the best card for x$. We talk about the latest greatest or bestest processor there is. We can enter into debates about whether or not to allow gay marriage, abortion, or capital punishment. It's not like we're debating about how the government should ease our starvation. We're not sizing up rice vendors because that's all we can afford. We complain about the settings of the AC. Hey, we've got AC. We rolleyes over traffic (hey, we got a car!).

It strikes me as somehow supremely insolent to not take into account that we could have very well been born into a situation where we have no rights and no luxuries. I'm thinking 3rd world country, child labor/sweatshops, standard of living. I've been around to different countries and states. I am rich. Not by American standards. I don't have a 6-figure salary. But I have a good job, a good house, cars, a wife, kids. A nice computer, etc. We get so caught up in eyeing the few multimillionaires above us that we fail to notice the majority of the world. We are rich - in rights, freedoms, finances. We abound in prosperity, all of which is happenstance.

When I was stationed in the Philippines, taking a military flight somewhere - sometimes you'd fly over villages that are basically poor. Not that all the Philippines are, but there'd be kids outside playing with sticks who'd wave at us. They lived in huts, shanties, hovels (whatever you want to call them) and basically didn't have the conveniences that we take for granted.

So pause and take a look around every now and then. Think about what you do have as opposed to what you don't. Spend some time getting a grip on reality - your next meal isn't something that you are praying desperately for. That you have a couch, a tv, a PC, a VHS player, a Visor/Palm, a digital camera. That you are able to *covet* the latest video card or mobo - as opposed to a shanty that has a tin roof. Spend some time being grateful - as opposed to a spoiled brat.

[end preaching]


Renegade Retard
13th Aug 2003, 08:43 AM
Well said, DeD. :tup:

13th Aug 2003, 08:44 AM

even the worst off of us here have it much better than a lot of people.

I grew up in a state owned house, we didn't even have running water, our bathroom was outside. between the two of them my parents worked five jobs. My brothers and I had toys that my parents got as gifts from friends, we loved them like they were brand new. Now that I'm grown up and out of that situation I really am thankful that it happened, sometimes I think all children should be raised poor, if only for the lessons it teaches you.

In a related note, even though I now have a nice collection of DVD's, I still have all of my VHS's because you can get them dirt cheap and sometimes you just wanna watch one of them.

13th Aug 2003, 05:25 PM
That's a pretty stupid thing to say from your friend.
I mean, she could by all means not give me anything, right?
A gift is not about material posession, it is about social bonding (in lack of a better phrase).
What if someone gives him a flower?
It's completely worthless in every sense of the word, except if it has some healing powers or something.
It might have cost them nothing, a dandelion picked from the sidewalk, or whatever, but it's the giving part that matters.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth, simply...
He should learn that proverb... :hmm:

13th Aug 2003, 05:53 PM
one thing I dislike is $10 gift cards to electronic stores :hmm:
I have yet to find anything that can be purchased at ANY electronic store for $10. I its the thought that counts, but geez, cash would be better, and I'm sure they went out of their way to get me it! Its kinna like giving some one a partial gift.
If I give a gift card I always make sure its at least a 20, that way they don't have to spend their money, or if I'm strapped for cash, I'll give them some money in a card.
But in all I think its just best to get them a gift, even if its a trinket. hell some of the best gifts where like 5 buck trinkets that I never thought of buying myself! I still love me mousepad clock ^_^

13th Aug 2003, 06:01 PM
A quick thing I have to add. You don't need to go to a third world country to find impoverished people. We have them right here in the good old US of A. People in shanties with no running water, sewer, or electricity, with no hope of ever doing more than surviving. The "greatest nation on Earth" and yet untold thousands (perhaps more) live hidden right infront of our faces, so to speak.

13th Aug 2003, 06:14 PM
acctually if you want to read a good story about this...
Urban Gorillas (http://jenniverse.com/urbanmain.htm)

13th Aug 2003, 06:23 PM
Yes, it's true, we do pwn the rest of the world.


Really, your friend must be some sort of techno-elitist. There's not much wrong with VHS anyway.

13th Aug 2003, 08:51 PM
Excellent sermon.

14th Aug 2003, 12:51 AM
I understand. I grew up in a pretty nasty neighborhood, and both of my parents are from 3rd world countries. And I've seen both, and know how good I have it.

And it does bug me to see how much people bitch about their stuff. Kick everyone's ass I will. Something that always pisses me off is the little suburbian kid that says "Yo, this is ghetto". YOU KNOW NOTHING YOU LITTLE BASTARD. Ideally, I'd kill him, but then I'd go to jail and leave too much work unfinished. Anyways...glad you are in the know.

14th Aug 2003, 02:37 AM
Yeah, VHS really does suck.

The Dopefish
14th Aug 2003, 12:59 PM
Yeah, VHS really does suck.

14th Aug 2003, 01:07 PM
Dude, have you SEEN the Special Edition DVD of Gladiator?!? :rolleyes:

In all seriousness, Americans do have it pretty good. I'm a little pissed at the inflated standard of living, as $20k a year would feed 10 families for a lifetime in some countries, but I can barely pay my bills on it... with no rent ATM... all the same, there are a lot of small luxuries that we take for granted, and we should be happy to have them.

15th Aug 2003, 02:42 AM
There's nothing wrong with VHS. I mean, really, how many pixels do you need? (13" TV; no DVD player until new laptop last week) I've got along perfectly well without a DVD player, without a big screen TV, without a lot of luxuries that some people would consider essential to the preservation of life. You know what? If there's any inanimate object or class of objects, aside from food, water, and air, without which one cannot live, then one needs to evaluate one's priorities. (excluding medical assistance) If I am given a VHS tape, why would I immediately throw it out and buy the DVD? If I do, then the 'gift' has actually cost me money in requiring me to replace it.

BTW, I have Gladiator on VHS tape, and do not plan on buying the DVD. It looks fine as it is.

15th Aug 2003, 02:58 AM
A friend of mine walked into a casino, put five bucks into a machine, and came away with 500. Just like that. So he's going to blow it all on a new video card and RAM. I bet him that he couldn't spend it all on just the card and RAM, so I get the change if he doesn't spend it all.

15th Aug 2003, 03:05 AM
What I said before was just a joke, like that I was missing the whole point. I'm sorry that wasn't as obvious as I thought It'd be.

15th Aug 2003, 08:36 AM
What I said before was just a joke, like that I was missing the whole point. I'm sorry that wasn't as obvious as I thought It'd be.

it was an obvious joke to me, I got a good laugh out of it. No need for apologies! :)

15th Aug 2003, 09:43 PM
He will blow the $500. The newest ATI and nVidia cards are both $500 apiece. He could go one step down and get a $400 card (like the ATI 9800 Pro 128) and get half a gig of Ram to finish it off.