The Last Sweater


My favorite comic, George Carlin, talks about getting “A Place for My Stuff.” When you run out of room, you go and buy a bigger box. And now that you have a bigger box, you go out and buy, you guessed it, More Stuff.

Now I’ve seen some pretty marvelous houses and apartments in my life, in NYC, London, Rome, houses filled with beautiful antiques and modern art, walk-in closets and four-car garages. And usually the person that owns them is far too busy working to pay his bills to enjoy his stuff. They are literally working their fingers to the bone in order to pay rent so that their furniture has a comfortable place to stay. How could they enjoy it… since they’re always at the office?

Or else I have friends that are so busy planning their boxes to perfection that they’ve left no time in their lives for actual living. I remember someone actually complaining to me that they couldn’t sleep at night until they found the perfect rug for the upstairs guest bathroom of their third house.

And I can hear the ego saying, “But don’t you see, I need all these things.”

And there’s the poor soul saying “OK,” one more time, hoping it will finally be enough. But it won’t. The ego will keep diddling him into One More Pillow, One More Curtain, One More Painting.

For me, The Last Straw was an Orange, Day-Glo Sweater. It was about the 90th sweater I received, and it was an insult to my soul. It was like my ego was force-feeding my soul this saccharine, fake happiness until it begged for mercy. The moment I accepted the sweater, I just felt dead inside.

That was the day my soul finally turned to me and said, “Really, are we going to waste our whole life with clothes, or houses, or cars? I thought we were going to go on a quest for the highest happiness together. Is this the most I can expect from you?”

And I felt ashamed.

2 thoughts on “The Last Sweater

  1. This one really got to me. First because I had just come home with a new orange (!) running shirt which I already knew I didn’t need but…this battle with stuff – the wayward belief that somehow the stuff would fill the hole. I know, of course, that the stuff merely lines the hole but damn all the pretty things, the rugs, the dishes, and big houses are so compelling. I’ve lost myself in all these things over the many years and have recently been trying to be more intentional about the stuff. But it’s a long and bumpy journey. The stuff is a go to for sadness, fear and even loneliness. Thanks for sharing this. M


    • Poor orange. Perhaps we’re piling on. Anyway, thanks for your brave response, Melissa. I think, at the end of the day, it’s the inner “stuff” we’re after!


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