Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Digression: Our Universe Does Not Make Sense.

The moment I heard it was coming out, I decided that I wanted it.

It was a big deal to me because I don't want many things anymore. There's not much I want to buy for myself, like maybe your wife buys a pair of shoes or you'd buy a fun gadget or toy. And anyway, the things that I do want to buy are usually rare, out-of-print, special-order items or at least stuff that's a little tricky to fit into our budget. (I'm not talking about a PS3 or a Lamborghini here, I'm talking about stuff like some old Traveller books or a nice pen.)

So knowing that the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series would be on DVD, and possibly even affordable to me, was very enticing indeed.

Recently I got a Christmas bonus from work*. Suddenly I had the money to go out and buy this dumb little thing that I wanted to own -- I could have the satisfaction and the tiny joy of going to a store, finding something that I knew I wanted, and purchasing it.

These days, I crave experiences more than things.

We went shopping yesterday and hit up Borders first; while my wife and daughter went to the craft store, I went looking for the DVD set. C'mon, it was Borders. They'd be likely to have it. Right?

No dice. The clerk who helped me look it up in their inventory (a gamer himself) found out that their warehouse doesn't even have it; he could order it, but he couldn't guarantee they'd get it. I thanked him, talked about his upcoming wedding, and left the store.

Barnes & Noble told me the exact same thing -- not in stock, not in warehouse, can try to order it but no guarantees.

Best Buy. Best Buy carries DVDs by the truckload. They were right next door. Bingo! I checked Best Buy.

No D&D cartoon. Oh, it was in inventory -- but the clerk couldn't find it, not on the shelves and not in the storage area. I could order it, though.

"I'm in customer service too, man," I said to him, "andI totally get that you're trying to help. I appreciate it. I just -- I don't want this to be a quest. I don't want it to be work. I want to walk out to a store, just like everybody else, and buy something that makes me happy and which I can share with my family. I guess if I liked Seinfeld**, I could be happy."

Empty-handed, I went back out to the car.

My wife convinced me that I could just order the damned thing when we got home. At least that way we'd get it. Still, I couldn't help but think -- I am seemingly starved for the little things in life. Tiny experiences, things that other people take for granted. I'm not just talking about something so shallow as buying a DVD -- I'm talking about taking a short trip to someplace pleasant, about going to a movie that I actually want to see, about --

Well, that one's personal. Just little things. Making memories, having a spot of fun. Doing something that I want to do.

These aren't huge demands.

A friend of mine suggests that maybe I'm suffering from depression, because some of the little things that should make me happy do not. When my wife told me she was pregnant, all I could say was, "Oh. Okay. Good!" It's not like I didn't like the fact, or that I wasn't proud, or happy. It's like I couldn't be excited about it, because excitement was a moot point or something I'd given up as useless, something I just don't have so why bother. I may as well do what I do with everything else: accept it and move on.

It's like I've stopped expecting life to be joyous. Yesterday was just a big reminder of why.

This, however, is not the end of the story. Because my search for the D&D cartoon DVD finally came to an abrupt, shocking end.

I found it at Wal-Mart.

You know,that's...that's kind of like being sad and long in the mouth, and getting a puppy from OCP.

*On top of all the other things they did for us.
** Which I don't. At all.