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Thursday, May 03, 2007

An inherited case of ' the wants'

Our kids seem to have inherited certain traits from each of their parents... for good and for bad.  For example, Ariella's gotten a healthy dose of her mother's artistic talent... and Gili seems to have inherited a whopping case of 'the wants' from his dad.

What's that?  You aren't familiar with the term 'the wants'?

Here's the deal... I'm a hopeless impulse buyer.  It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally I will see a sleek new toy... a sexy new Mac laptop... a piece of camping/outdoors equipment... or a mobile phone with more features than an astronaut would ever need... and suddenly I want it RIGHT THAT VERY SECOND!  It's like a fever comes over me and I am incapable of thinking about anything else until it passes.

Luckily, Zahava and I have hammered out an understanding (she knows me too well) whereby if either of us wants to make a purchase involving a price tag above 'a certain amount', it must be discussed with (and approved by)the other spouse. 

This is actually a very sensible system since my 'want' spells don't usually last very long, and the 'cooling off' period required for me to reach home and talk over a potential purchase with Zahava is usually long enough for me to realize that I can easily live without whatever had me in a desperate lather of consumer lust a few hours earlier. 

The list of truly foolish stuff I have never gotten around to asking her permission to buy is embarrassingly long.

Gilad's spells of 'the wants', however, seems to have a bit more staying power than his old man's.  Once a shiny gewgaw gets under Gilad's skin he will mount a relentless one-man harassment campaign until he gets it... or until I kill him, whichever comes first.

The latest object of Gilad's desire was my fancy-shmancy Gary Fisher mountain bike.  If you aren't a bike enthusiast, just take my word for the level of envy that really high-end Gary Fisher bikes arouse in the two-wheeled crowd. 

When I bought my bike (many years ago) it was the latest word in off-road, man-powered locomotion.  It had all the bells & whistles you could ask for... Rock Shocks, edgy geometry, a bazillion gears, silky-smooth derailleurs... and it had a matte purple and cannary yellow paint job that you couldn't look away from.

Today there are endless new space-age components available for mountain bikes, but my old Gary Fisher still turns heads (even if the old rider doesn't).

Anyhoo, about eight months ago Gilad got a serious case of 'the wants' for my bike, and from that point on he mounted an unrelenting campaign to try and woo it out from under me (not that it's actually under me all that much anymore).

His first attempt was a full frontal attack... a hopeless non-starter that went down in flames before he'd even gotten his argument off the ground.  First of all, he had a perfectly good mountain bike I'd bought for him not long before.  Second of all, he didn't have a track record of taking particularly good care of his stuff.  Lastly... well, dammit, just keep your mitts of my bike!

However, after several months of plotting a more subtle approach, Gilad sprang the trap... and it was so slick that I didn't realize I'd been bamboozled until hours after the fact.

It went something like this:

The Wind-up:  "Hey abba, have you noticed that Ariella has pretty much outgrown her bike?" 

[I should have known something was up right there since Ari and Gili are not particular protective of each-other's interests... except on the rare occasions when those interests overlap.]

The Pitch: "Look, I know that bikes are really expensive, so instead of buying Ari a new one, why don't you sell just her old one to someone... I'll give her mine, since it's much better than her old one... and I'll just, y'know, use yours for the time being." 

The Close:  "This way Ari will end up with a much better bike... and instead of you having to buy her a new one (which costs money) you'll actually make money on whatever you get from selling her old bike!"

I must have been distracted by a fly in the room or something while all this was going on, because it wasn't until hours later when I was getting ready to go to sleep that I realized that he'd deliberately left out a crucial factor:  Zahava's bike (a very high-end 'Specialized' mountain/road hybrid which is seldom used) had not been taken into account, and would have been a perfectly acceptable bike for Ariella to move up to.

Gilad had so dazzled me with the concept of not having to plunk down cash for a new bike for Ariella (and perhaps maybe making a couple of bucks in the deal!) that I didn't feel the sting of him stealing my precious Gary Fisher!

But the damage was done.  I'd already agreed to let Gilad have my bike, and Ariella was already gushing about the prospect of upgrading to Gili's old one.  Zahava was none the worse in the deal since she was keeping her bike... which pretty much left me as the only chump who was ending up with bupkas!

As gently as I could I broached the topic of a new bike for myself with Zahava... but in truth my heart wasn't in it.  We both knew that anything likely to give me a case of 'the wants' as bad as when I'd first set eyes on my Gary Fisher would mean spending mucho dinero

A slog through the bike shops near my office at lunch time confirmed my suspicions... that while there was much to covet in the latest mountain bikes, the sticker shock was enough to throw cold water over the first tingling of 'the wants'.

As I was walking out of the last bike shop (a Trek/Gary Fisher dealership) to return to my office, the shop owner (who had introduced me to the various bikes on the showroom floor in a manner reminiscent of a proud father introducing his children) tossed an innocent question after me:

"It seems to me that you have your heart set on a high-end bike but your budget is holding you back.  Can I show you one of our used bikes?"

I spun around as if he had me on a string.

It hadn't occurred to me that a fancy-shmancy high-end bike dealership would have 'pre-owned' models for sale.  It turned out that he had a very respectable selection of well-cared-for bikes with names (and more importantly, bells & whistles) I could propely lust after. 

As I stood there perusing the possibilities and noting with glee the bargain prices, a burning case of 'the wants' welled up in my chest.  There, in the center of the rack, sat a beautiful used Trek... with Rock Shocks, edgy geometry, a bazillion gears, silky-smooth derailleurs, and a flashy canary yellow and silver paint job that I couldn't look away from. 

Admittedly, the ending of this story isn't exactly worthy of O'Henry... but it's a happy ending none-the-less: 

  • Ariella upgraded her ride and is quite pleased with the results
  • Zahava held onto her very respectable bike
  • Gilad obtained the object of his 'wants' (and did so without my having to kill him).
  • And after being bamboozled out of a bike that had been used far too infrequently, I was provided with an unexpected new object of 'the wants' that might actually get my aging carcass out of the house a few times this season.

It's all good.


Posted by David Bogner on May 3, 2007 | Permalink


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The NPS has had some great family biking trips recently. Maybe you can take advantage of them during the upcoming chagim.

As for your Gilad, he definitely has a future in politics! ;-)

Posted by: jennifer | May 3, 2007 11:12:16 AM

That nephew of mine is a slick one... LOVE IT!

Posted by: val | May 3, 2007 1:12:30 PM

Gilad's negotiating skills are quite impressive.

How about some pictures of the family bikes?

Posted by: tnspr569 | May 3, 2007 1:13:00 PM

you just got your but kicked by like a 9 year old. I don't whether to fall over from laughing or crying

Posted by: Ed | May 3, 2007 3:38:01 PM

"A few times this season"? How about commiting (here, publicly) to trying to get out there at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes? It's great exercise, might not bother your back, and you can do it with your family. What could be better?

Posted by: Albert Fuchs | May 3, 2007 4:24:57 PM

Ed: Correction (not that it changes much): he got his butt kicked by an 11.5 year old...

And if YOU don't know whether to fall over from laughing or crying IMAGINE my delight [end/sarcasm!].

Posted by: zahava | May 3, 2007 4:55:57 PM

I would have sold you you my twenty year old Scwhinn Circuit road bike. It's still purring like a cat after all these years (of course, it's a road bike).

Posted by: mochassid | May 3, 2007 5:06:49 PM

Hi Trep,

Cool post. I can definitely identify with "the wants"...

I tend to procrastinate with buys as well... sometimes so long that the original object of desire goes out of print or out of production.

I was going to poit out the million posts today about Honeybee decline, but I figure that you've been tipped off already... and if not, this post will do the trick.

All the best to you and yours!


Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | May 3, 2007 6:03:25 PM

I have some really nice pre-owned tires. They were once used by a guy named Max Fisher who rumor has it has a cousin named Jerry Fisher.

Should I tell you more.

Posted by: Jack | May 3, 2007 6:09:30 PM

First of all, finally a post I can read and understand and appreciate! Thank you! Second of all, the sarahbsmile family has called it for years, "A bad case of the gimmies" based on a classic Berenstain Bear book we read to the kids when they were little (and still read to Ely). Doesn't sound like it went so bad over there. Proud of all of you :)

Posted by: sarahb | May 3, 2007 10:44:35 PM

"The Wants"

This could make a great title for a post about your time in the navy.

"Just the other day Zahava learned about how three days of shoreleave left me with a bad case of "The Wants."

Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2007 12:50:49 AM

"The Wants"

This could make a great title for a post about your time in the navy.

"Just the other day Zahava learned about how three days of shoreleave left me with a bad case of "The Wants."

Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2007 12:51:15 AM

Okay, I just have to share this story. When my first son was around five years old, we had to go to the clinic for one of his check ups and also had some errands to do. It was nearing lunch and we were both hungry, but my intent was to get the errands done and then go home and make sandwiches. As we were leaving the clinic, he looked up at me with his huge brown eyes (full of innocence, hah!) and he said, "Mom, you must be really hungry. Why don't we go out to eat for lunch?"

I looked at him like he was an alien child.

He continued, "We can go to Sbarros at the mall cuz we were going to have to go there anyway. It's right there!"

I finally remembered I had a voice and I said, "No, hon. I don't have any money on me."

"You can write a check."

"Uh, I don't have my checkbook with me."

"You don't need a check. You have your card. There's a money machine at the front of the mall."

I was stunned. He had the whole thing thought through despite the fact that we had only visited this mall two times in his young life.

We had pizza for lunch.

Posted by: Tracey | May 4, 2007 4:58:46 AM

Nice story. That kid of yours sounds shrewd!

'The wants'. I seem to suffer from the same syndrom; I recognize the symptoms! Recently I have: "acquired" the sleek Mac laptop I had been eyeing for some time, spent ages on the web comparing bread machines when I could have done millions of more useful and interesting things and, yes, visited a bike shop while my old one (a Dutch bike) is still in perfect condition.

Shabbat shalom

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 4, 2007 8:57:14 AM

I really, really miss Photo Friday

Posted by: Ed | May 4, 2007 4:41:47 PM

Gili gets more than the "wants" from his old man. This post is a brilliant ploy. How could a loving wife say no?

Posted by: Bob | May 5, 2007 2:51:32 PM

Start saving for law school, David---you two have a budding litigator there. I loved this story--I could never quite get across to the Teen Step-Kids that "I need {insert object of desire}" is NOT the same as "I WANT {ditto}." My overused mantra was "You NEED food, shelter, clothing and air---you don't NEED (a) another pair of Adidas (b) a new dress (c) your hair frosted (d) your very own car, etc....you may WANT those things but you don't NEED them. If you WANT the $250 Adidas super-sports basketball shoes, then get a job and buy them." Sigh....

Posted by: aliyah06 | May 6, 2007 10:53:24 AM

jennifer... Politics? I was thinking law! :-)

Val... You want him? Cheap!

tnspr569... Yeah, one of these days when I have time to download pictures again. :-)

Ed... Until you've faced off with him, I wouldn't laugh. I'm just sayin'. :-)

Albert Fuchs... I tried 'public commitment' 15 years ago and see where it got me? [ducks]

Zahava... Yes dear.

mochassid... As tempting as a road bike might be, I gave up my Bianchi when we left the states because I don't have a place for two bikes in the house. Thanks anyway.

Maksim-Smelchak... Thanks. Yeah, I've been following the story closely.

Jack... Oh yes, please. :-)

sarahb... You won't believe it, but another reader sent me an email with a link to exactly that book. It must have hit a nerve. :-)

Jack... How about those tires?

Tracey... The kids have figured out all the angles. It's why they end up dressed nicely and out all the time with their friends while we're stuck at home wearing the same old crap. :-)

Ilana-Davita... Ahhh, a kindred spirit. :-)

Ed... Me too. Care to find me an extra couple of hours a week to work on it? :-)

Bob... I have no idea what you are referring to. [whistles innocently]

aliyah06... Yeah, that occurred to me too. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 6, 2007 12:50:19 PM

Used wheels aren't so great if you are genuinely going to go out and ride alot. There is a lot of wear and tear on a bike that is not really visible to the eye until.. you are way down the mountain and the derailler just comes apart.

Posted by: jacob | May 7, 2007 12:46:20 AM

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