aftermath

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Spoiled As Spoiled Can Be

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Obviously I no longer waste my time writing over at ADASTW, and I barely spend much time reading there either. But recently I did come across the following survey at the journal of one of the last few friends I still keep up with back in the old neighborhood, and it captured my interest for a spell. It’s an informal non-scientific diversion, put together I believe by a teen, so to be taken in that spirit. I tabulated my basic response back there, but now I add some further commentary here, along with my own personal revisions to the survey. Casual apologies if it seems I’m taking this all too seriously—I just found it an interestingly different way to explore how one sees certain aspects of his life in the context of the lives of others within this particular framework. But enough spoilers; on with the survey itself:

Do you have—

  • —Your own cell phone?. Well, yes I do, so award me one Spoil Point. But to me, this is one of many teen-vs-adult questions this survey has: although most teens these days seem to come pre-installed with a cell phone, it can still be considered a good strong Spoil Point when a kid does have a cell phone; whereas although of course there are many adults without one, it has become normal enough – especially for a man with work such as what I do – that it hardly seems right calling the usual condition a spoiled one. So I am going to take the liberty of age-weighting the question and erasing my first Spoil Point. And technically, I should go into negative point territory right off the start here, since my cell phone is almost old enough to be an antique and on numerous occasions I have declined upgrading it, with a very non-spoiled attitude observing, “No, I don’t need anything more than the basic one I already have.” Indeed, in my personal version of this survey, even an adult gets a Spoil Point here (and a teen gets an extra Spoiled Point) if he or she has an iPhone or a Blackberry or equivalent. I don’t, so after taking the liberty of age-weighting the basic question, I come away from question #1 with SP:0 (Spoil Points = 0).
  • —A television in your bedroom? Yes, I do. But once again, this question makes complete sense to me if we’re surveying teens. Yes, each of our own kids has a TV in each of their bedrooms, although the game room has a perfectly good set they could – and do – use; and I don’t mind charging each of them with a Spoil Point for having that luxury. And then like with the cell phones, certainly I know of many adults who do not have a television in their own bedroom. Even so, it is so normal for adults to have a TV in their bedroom that I don’t think it at all unrealistic for me to again feel that it ought not be called spoiled for any adult who is merely typical. So again I’ll take the liberty of taking back the Spoil Point originally awarded me here. But . . . rewind the reel there. In addition to the kids’ individual TVs and the one we have in the bedroom, there is that TV in the game room, so go ahead and add a Spoil Point back on. And it is a wide-screen high-definition TV, so add at least another Spoil Point, even if I’m not spoiled enough to know how to actually operate the damned thing. And we have a Wii game system for it, so tack on another Spoil Point. And although tiny and not connected up with the satellite dish, let’s go ahead and add another Spoil Point for the TV in the kitchen, since it’s got to be at least somewhat spoiled to watch the nonsense that they call TV programming while puttering about in the kitchen. Noticing that I’ll not add yet another point for cable or satellite, since again that is just too typical to be spoiled anymore; although a little spoiler could be added here on cultural spoiled points I’ll be awarding myself before I’m done. By my arithmetic, I’m now up SP:4. Don’t ask me how often any of those are left on without anybody watching them, or the score might see some inflationary pressure.
  • —An iPod/Zune? Yes, I’ll give myself a Spoil Point for this because I have a Zen Vision M mp3 player. But then I’ll be arrogant enough to award myself an extra Spoil Point simply because a Zen Vision M is a far superior piece of equipment than an iPod could ever dream of being. Or give it to me because mine’s a 30-meg device. Or because I treated myself to it after I carelessly dropped my 8-meg one in the bath. Or just to be fair, since I made such a point of age-weighting those first two questions on the basis of what was typical, I’ll go ahead and admit that while it is more typical – perhaps spoiled all the same, but still as typical as a bedroom TV is to an adult – for a teen to have an iPod, let’s give me that additional Spoil Point for how I spoil myself crazy by using mine to listen to Enrolled Actuary Meeting recordings and business podcasts and other austere stuff. However we do it, take me on up to SP:6.
  • —A photo printer? If I really wanted to split hairs, I’d bicker that the printer we have is not really “mine” and that I never really use it for photo printing and yadda yadda yadda. I’ll show a bit of good faith here vis a vis this whole process and just take the point. SP:7.
  • —Your own phone line? Yes, but again I think this should be a teen vs adult thing. When we got a different upstairs phone line for the kids, we may have had good reasons, yet we can still reasonably call it Spoiled Points for them. But for an adult, maybe not having their own phone line is the spoiled side of things – that usually means they’re so infatuated with their cell phones, they feel liberated from land line entirely; and sorry, but that is spoiled. For the basic question here, don’t charge me with a Spoil Point; it’s simply too normal for an adult to have his own phone line. But then I’ll add a Spoil Point anyway for having a fax phone line . . . and then actually using it for personal business, even. So SP:8.
  • —TiVo or a generic digital video recorder? Not. And by the time I ever get around to getting one, it will be more commonplace than a TV itself, whether in the bedroom or not. I’m so far away from having a TiVo, I should almost go back to SP:0.
  • —High-speed internet access? Yes, go ahead and add a Spoil Point. And then should I add an extra Spoil Point because I’m so spoiled that I think high-speed internet access should be part of the Bill of Rights, and that I have been known to pity those still settling for anything less? I won’t go that far; but I will take an additional point for diverting that high-speed access into a home wireless network, so every one of the family’s laptops (yes, each of us has one – we’ll get around to extra points for that in an appendix at the end) has simultaneous use of that high-speed access. SP:10.
  • —A surround sound system in bedroom? I suppose there are tech salespeople out there who could tell me what I’m missing, but I fail to see (or hear?) the need. Maybe a guy would be spoiled if he knew that sort of info and therein envied those who had surround sound, even if he didn’t yet actually have it? Me, I get my surround sound from nature every time I step outside. SP:10.
  • —DVD player in bedroom? I’ll take a Spoil Point here. But no, I won’t add an extra Spoil Point for the separate VHS player that also sits there, first off because the truly spoiled DVD players come with the VHS player packaged together in the set, but more because the VHS player is a very old piece of crap that hasn’t been used for years and is only there because I haven’t gotten around to giving it to the Goodwill. SP:11.
  • —At least a hundred DVDs? It’s been years since I’d added much to it, almost as long since I bothered to watch any of it. So this one’s kinda like asking me if I’m spoiled merely because my mother had a convertible car some 40 years ago. At some point it has to count less against you that you were once more spoiled than you might be now. But I’ll eat the point; after all, we do have more than 100 to choose from, should we tire of the crap on the TV. SP:12.
  • —A child-free bathroom? My my, this certainly is all about perception, ain’t it. Some of us would just love to spoil ourselves with the pitter-pat of little children’s feet anywhere in the house, inside the bathroom or out. (Baby K, we do miss you.) So I won’t argue giving myself a Spoil Point here for the child-free bathroom I do have, as long as I could give myself 5 Spoil Points for each baby I could have the opposite way, un-liberating that same bathroom. SP:13.
  • —Your own in-house office? Yeah, I do, and maybe this is a valid Spoil Point whether teen or adult. But it would be multiple Spoil Points if it were like the in-house office I had back at the Madison house or the Frederick house, where the entire room wall to wall and floor to ceiling actively served my interests and distractions. Not that the in-house office I have now isn’t functional; just that it’s like the difference between having a tree in your back yard versus living on the edge of a huge forest. Or let’s put it this way: the Madison house office would in and of itself settle the entire survey: you’d just call me spoiled outright on that score alone. SP:14.
  • —A pool? Solid Spoil Point. With a waterfall feature, so tack on another Spoil Point. With a spa that I don’t spoil myself enough with, so give me another and take the total on up to SP:17.
  • —A guest house? Ummmm, this is one of those winner-takes-all sudden-death items? Anyone who answers yes on this one need not take the rest of the survey: you’re spoiled, period. I’m guest-houseless, still at SP:17.
  • —A game room? Yes, and I really should give myself an extra Spoiled Point for being so spoiled that I’m too lazy to get up the stairs enough to actually show my face in the game room more than once or twice a year. SP:18.
  • —A queen-size bed or larger? Yes, but I think we’re back to teen survey vs adult survey. Like yeah, maybe there are some married couples out there without queen- or king-size beds, but they’re probably only the ones who have been married long enough to go back to separate twins, which bumps on over to a separate interpretation of being spoiled, and we’re not going there, so to speak. Let’s just say that although a queen might be spoiled for a teen, it’s abnormally small enough for married adults to just plain smirk this spoiled point off my count. Back down to SP:18.
  • —A stocked bar? Not for me, and I don’t care to have one. Still at SP:18.
  • —A working dishwasher? (I was a little curious about the adjective “working”: so if my home has a dishwasher, but it’s broken and I haven’t bothered to get it repaired, I wouldn’t have to count myself as spoiled?) SP:19 because ours does work.
  • —An icemaker? (But if I break it and don’t call the repairman, I would still have to count it this time?) With a water filter that I use mainly for the water for my coffee, SP:20.
  • —A working washer and dryer? (And we’re back to making sure they are “working” before we count them?…Hmmmm.) Up to SP:21.
  • —More than 20 pairs of shoes? This would have been one of those winner-take-all sudden-death questions for Imelda. But no, the only way someone could call my three pair spoiled is that one of those pair is only a superfluous “back-up” pair that hasn’t been worn more than once in the three or more years since purchase. In fact, since I haven’t updated what I have nor added to my shoe collection in over three years, I’m subtracting a point on this one, taking me back down to SP:20.
  • —At least ten things from a designer store? No, and do I get to subtract another point if the only reason I even know what a designer store even is would be so I never set either of my old-shoed feed in one? SP:20.
  • —Expensive sunglasses? Well, my prescription eyeglasses are those type of lens that change to get dark in the sun, which did make those more expensive than normal eyeglasses. But it’s not spoiled when I’ve gone years past the point where I needed to update the prescription because I don’t like the eye exam and I don’t care for the expense of new glasses and these are good enough. Any time a guy can say “This is good enough,” that in and of itself is a get-out-of-spoiled-free card. SP:20.
  • —Framed original art, not lithographs or prints. We do have some of Susan‘s grandmother’s personal paintings framed, but I’m not going to count that. I would count it if I had framed my own art, even though I would strongly encourage any artist spoiling themselves so. But I just don’t think it’s spoiled to frame a grandparent’s art. Respectful and loving, but not spoiled. (Besides, I’m going to be tagged as spoiled before this survey is done anyway, so bypassing this Spoil Point doesn’t really tip the scales.) Still at SP:20.
  • —Egyptian cotton sheets or towels? Heh, I probably should get to take the Spoil Point for this one away, because I had to ask. As in, I am being spoiled, but I ain’t really spoiled here if I’m clueless enough that I don’t know I’m being spoiled unless I ask. But ok, SP:21.
  • —A multi-speed bike? Used to have one. But still wouldn’t have counted it as spoiled when I was a teen nor for the first ten years after college, not unless all of my friends would have had to take 20 times the Spoil Points for their first cars, since my trusty Schwinn was my sole means of self-transportation until I was over age 30. Like, all those Chinese people who bicycle to work ain’t really spoiled for doing so, not in my book. Now granted, I would like to add a Spoil Point by getting myself a multi-speed bike again. But that’s currently way down on my wish list, so I don’t even get a potential Spoil Point here. SP:21.
  • —A gym membership? For a year when working in downtown Washington, D.C., I did have membership in one of the capitol city’s better gyms. And although that was almost 20 years ago, it was so spoiled that I’ll tack on a permanent residual Spoil Point just for having ever had it. Takes me on up to SP:22.
  • —Large exercise equipment at home? Yes, and I spoil myself every single day by neglecting to use it. *grin* Go ahead and bump me up an extra notch to SP:24.
  • —Your own set of golf clubs? No, and wouldn’t know what to do with them. I used to play a respectable par-3 game when I was a teen, but never advanced beyond and now even suck at my chips and my putts. Not even close to being spoiled here. SP:24.
  • —A pool table? I wish I could be spoiled on this one. I spent my entire second year of college behind a pool cue, and I didn’t lose the touch on that one near as much as I lost it with golf. Spoil me, please. SP:24.
  • —A tennis court? Ummm, if we mean a tennis court of one’s own, not just one in the community or at the local YMCA, then we’re back to winner-take-all sudden-death questions. If you have a tennis court of your own, what are you doing sitting here reading random blogs? Go outside and spoil yourself. SP:24.
  • —Local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea? Or a river? I used to spoil myself silly canoeing up and down the river Rebecca lived beside. But I don’t get a permanent residual point for that like I did with the gym membership, thanks to Rebecca’s strange concept of “friendship.” SP:24.
  • —Your own pair of skis? No, and if I had my own pair, I wouldn’t call it spoiled either, any more than I would think it spoiled to have a rope to hang myself with or a razor to slice my wrists with. SP:24. Next question please.
  • —Enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area? Well, actually, I have enough because I have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. I’ve camped out over many a weekend in isolated areas with as little. But we don’t call that spoiled; we call it liking to be alone. SP:24.
  • —A boat? Susan says I can’t have one. She saves me from being too spoiled. SP:24.
  • —A jet ski? Nope. Didn’t even go along last year when Nat and Brandon rented one when we went to that wedding down at Corpus Christi. Stuck at SP:24.
  • —A neighborhood committee membership? No, it doesn’t count when local Houston communities force you by legal extortion to pay fees that get you nothing whatsoever for it, not even basic enforcement of common sense zoning laws. In fact, it’s so oppressively the opposite of being spoiled, I’m taking a spoiled point away. Back down to SP:23.
  • —A beach house or a vacation house/cabin? No, not even a time-share ball-and-chain to contend with. SP:23.
  • —Wealthy family members? OK, now this is blatantly unfair: because Lisa and her family are the poster children of being spoiled, it rubs off on me for marrying into the family? I will keep this particular Spoil Point just because they are so far spoiled they even know it, but I do so under very strong protest. Knowing someone who is spoiled doesn’t make the person himself or herself spoiled, blood or no blood, in-law or not. SP:24.
  • —Two or more family cars? And now I’m spoiled because our kids are? Sorry, but this question and the previous question suck. Besides, at what point do I get to stop counting the kids? Surely if they were off with their own families, I shouldn’t keep counting them when their own kids grow up and get spoiled with cars. Then do I have to count them now if they should have already moved out? Like, I don’t think it’s fair to call me spoiled because of Kelly’s truck if he should have been out on his own by now. Besides, the car I myself am driving is about as anti-spoiled as one can get; like no, this particular actuary does not drive a Jag or anything remotely luxurious. So I’m taking no points here, no further debate. Still at my SP:24 plateau.
  • —A walk-in closet or pantry? Yeah, but if you saw the master bedroom closet that is forcing this point on me, you’d LOL at me having to tag myself even remotely spoiled for having to walk into it. But hey, I do spoil myself by using it as little as I can, so we’ll shrug it on up to SP:25, just for the smile.
  • —A yard? In the back, there’s not much of it, since the pool took it all away. But although there are some minor partial point deductions that could be made for the condition of parts of the yard that is left over, let’s be honest and take the basic Spoil Point here, add another Spoil Point for the specially designed landscaping, including the palm trees by the pool, then another one for the sprinkler system. So I’m up to SP:28.
  • —A hammock? Spoil me, please. SP:28.
  • —A personal trainer? Not unless you count Kitty, who does his very best to train me to scratch behind his ears and turn on the bathroom sink faucet for him. SP:28.
  • —Good credit? Pul-leeze, Louise. OK, now this is just plain wrong, even for a teen, but especially for an adult. If you have or expect you deserve any of the material items on this list and go after them with a credit-be-damned pay-it-all-off-tomorrow kind of attitude, then that, my friend, is seriously spoiled. But if you work your ass off to pay for everything and make all the financial decisions to keep your nose clean, that’s simply responsibility and wisdom, not even remotely spoiled. And if you haven’t managed to burden yourself with someone like the B who spoils herself crazy ruining your credit, that’s just damned lucky. But let’s call it spoiled if you’re too young to know that good credit is common sense. And for the good credit that I do have, let’s recognize that it comes from being unspoiled enough to not only refuse the Spoil Point the survey would inappropriately give me, but take a point deduction (and it’s being generous not to take more) for being a responsible adult. Down to SP:27.
  • —Expensive jewelry? Unless we’re going to get philosophical and go another direction with this survey by calling it spoiled to be married, I don’t count a basic wedding ring (nor do I think a woman should count a simple engagement ring). If that jewelry were over the top in terms of being super-expensive, maybe. It ain’t me, babe. Leave me at SP:27.
  • —A designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get? No, nor any of the male equivalents, either. But I have spoiled myself by amassing those carrying bags handed out at actuarial meetings over the years. For the largest personal collection of “designer” actuarial bags in the known and unknown world both, go ahead and call it SP:28.
  • —At least $100 cash in your possession right now? That sounds like another teen vs adult question to me: it might be spoiled for the typical teen to have at least $100, whereas it is not the least bit uncommon for the adult (who then very frequently uses it to pay for the teen’s meals or movies or other spoils of war). Me, that’s exactly where my ceiling usually is during the brief instant right after I hit the ATM . . . for maybe a minute or two, until the next kid’s handout or my next cup of coffee, then presto I’m under $100 again. Count me out on this question. Still at SP:28.
  • —More than two credit cards bearing your name? I think I might have three; I really can’t say and I’m too spoiled to bother to look. If so, I only use two, and the third one would be there only because I’ve been too lazy to cancel it. And again, having more than two credit cards might be spoiled for a teen (although they should begin building good credit as soon as possible – again, that good credit is the responsible thing, not the spoiled thing), but so common for any adult in today’s world that it’s almost amusing to try to call it spoiled. In fact, for an adult, let’s call it spoiled if you have more than twenty credit cards, and let’s actually deduct a Spoil Point for me being responsible enough to only have three, taking me back down to SP:27. (Don’t worry, I’m still up over the limit in the end.)
  • —a stock portfolio? No, a 401(k) plan doesn’t count, not when you’ve got more than 30 years of working behind you. Not having one would be called stupid, and trying to make it into retirement without one would be spoiled stupid; having an adequate one is again called being financially responsible. This strikes me again as a teen vs adult question, although I suppose for an adult I would call a stock portfolio that is in addition to the 401(k) plan maybe a bit spoiled . . . yet even there wisely so. As is, I’m justified in leaving myself at SP:27.
  • —A passport? Yes, I have a passport, but I refuse to take a Spoil Point for it. I’m still at SP:27. This may be teen vs adult again: for the typical teen, it is a luxury to have a passport, maybe. But whether or not this might be as commonplace for every adult as some of the previous teen-vs-adult arguments I’ve raised, one simply must be given an exemption when the adult has been required to get a passport because of a business trip required by the job. We’re going to have to start calling it spoiled if I have a job in the first place if we go there . . . and yes, that could be argued by unemployed people who can’t find good work, but that’s an entirely different slant on the whole spoiled question that is a whole lot different from asking if I have a guest house and a tennis court. Having a job that has required me to leave the country does not make me spoiled, not even close.
  • —A horse? I’ve ridden horses several times, but never had one. SP:27.
  • —A trust fund? Sounds like another teen vs adult question. Not that an adult with a trust fund wouldn’t be spoiled, just that this sounds like something asked from a teen’s perspective. And even if I were to come across a teen with a trust fund, I’d want to know where it came from before chalking up a Spoil Point. I’ve known some friends in the past who had a trust fund, in exchange for only having a gravestone to remember a father by. Start handing out any Spoil Points for that, and I’d say anyone with a loving father ought be called spoiled too. Whatever, I don’t have a trust fund, so still at SP:27.
  • —Private medical insurance? Nope, always had mine through work. Maybe I was spoiled back at my previous job when I had extra medical insurance that essentially paid everything. But with the insurance you get on a government job, keep me at SP:27 and move on before even that score slips.
  • —A college degree, and no outstanding student loans? Yes, but in my opinion this is again as misdirected as the idea that striving for good credit is spoiled rather than responsible. Maybe if Daddy paid off all my college for me, then I can call myself spoiled. And take that even further in at least one case I am too familiar with: get Daddy and Mommy to pay for college classes that you flunk out of, and don’t bother to pick your own ass up off the ground, and that would be more spoiled than getting the degree. I know that many adults make it quite fine without a college degree. But working my ass off to get mine on my own with no help from anyone else doesn’t make me spoiled. For even trying to call that spoiled, deduct a Spoil Point. I’m back down to SP:26. Don’t argue.

Do you—

  • —Shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week? Personally, I’d tag this one as spoiled at the once-a-month threshold and go with triple points at once-a-week. But no, I’m not at the cashier even once a month on this one. Still at SP:26.
  • —Do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores? Not unless anyone is comedy-minded enough to try to call Kroger’s a high-end store. Hell, shopping for my Thai curry noodles at Kroger’s should win me a point deduction, tagging me as anti-spoiled. But I’ll be fair and leave it at SP:26.
  • —Pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (not counting dry-cleaning)? No, but let’s back up the reel a bit, back to the yard. We did get rid of the pool guy, so we clean and maintain the pool ourselves; and we never found anyone else who could clean the house to our satisfaction, so I’m non-spoiled enough that I help Susan out with keeping up after that. But we also used to do all the yard work ourselves, then just got too damn tired of the insanity of doing that in Houston heat. So give me a point for spoiling myself here with a yard service. Back up to SP:27.
  • —Go on weekend mini-vacations?? Going on an annual or semi-annual vacation could get spoiled if we did it to exotic sites like Paris or special adventures like hiking the Himalayas. Mine come every two or three years to a discount hotel, usually nearby where I can drive instead of spending the airfare, usually for less than a week, and with little or not outrageous sightseeing or luxury dining or whatever, just basic getaway relaxation. But “weekend” mini-vacations? Ha. As in down to the community college to watch Nat cheerleading, perhaps? No, I’m not taking any Spoil Points here, not even close. We’d be better off wasting time debating how agoraphobic I can get on my weekend “mini-vacations” out to the back yard. SP:27.
  • —Send dinners back with every flaw? It’s not spoiled to expect basic service if you’re going to be paying for it, but I’m not the kind of spoiled who sends his back with every flaw. If there are too many flaws, I simply don’t send myself back. SP:27.
  • —Wear perfume or cologne? *smile* I have cologne on my bathroom sink. It’s for show, because I like how it looks. I was given it for Christmas I can’t remember how many years ago. I can’t remember how long ago it was that I actually opened it. I do not retain whatever smidgen of a partial Spoil Point that one occasion might have charged me with. SP:27.
  • —Regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon? Nope. Oh, sure, I used to be frugal enough to cut my own hair in the mirror, and I know a barber may be a luxury for some. But having my arm twisted to get a basic haircut the few times I agree to finally having the shag trimmed doesn’t tag me as spoiled any more than it would do to ask me if I brush my teeth or take my meds when I should. Basic hygiene isn’t a Spoil Point. Now, going for a styling beyond a basic cut and doing it every two weeks or so, that would be spoiled. And I would like to have my nails done, but Susan says no. Sorry, no points for me on this one. Still stuck at SP:27.
  • —Have a job but don’t need the money? Nope. I mean, yes I have a job, but I also need to have the income it gives me . . . unless we argue I have the job yet must not really need the money, since all the (spoiled) kids keep taking it all. SP:27.
  • —Stay at home with little financial sacrifice? I’m telecommuting more and more these days, probably easing the finances a bit since I spend less for the gas of the commute. I don’t read this question as meaning that. Keep it at the SP:27 plateau.
  • —Pay someone else to cook your meals? . . . Oh ok. *sigh* We are eating at the house a whole lot more lately. But I suppose I do still eat out enough to give me 2 full Spoil Points here, although inexpensive food joints like C&Ds and Chipolte really shouldn’t count. But go ahead and take my tab on up to SP:29.
  • —Pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs? No, not unless you count that hole in my pocket from the money we have spent for someone to “watch” Jenny. That doesn’t make me spoiled; it just spoils any fun I was having with this survey. Still SP:29.
  • —Regularly pay someone else to drive you? Even on business trips, a cab is not something I do “regularly”; it’s way more common for me to rent a(n economy) car, so I can do it myself. SP:29.
  • —Expect a gift after you fight with your partner? I suppose you could award me 100 Spoil Points here for being spoiled by not having had a fight with my partner. Maybe that will have to go in a different revised version of this survey. For now, we’ll leave the focus of this question on the gift and the expectation of a gift, and leave my Spoil Point count at 29.

Are you—

  • —An only child? Nope, even though I feel like it sometimes. But award yourself 3 Spoil Points if you’re the only female child in a family with 2 or more male children, even if you’re an adult now, and don’t debate the point—you’re spoiled on that score, and you know it. Me, SP:29.
  • —Married/partnered to a wealthy person? No, but do I get to subtract a point if my spouse/partner might answer yes to this one on my account? (I’m not, by the way. Wealthy, I mean. But since one can be spoiled without being wealthy—many give themselves bad credit being so—I’ll just shut up and continue the survey.) SP:29.
  • —Baffled/surprised when you don’t get your way? I think this question should be the closing question for the survey. That way, it would be curious how one would respond if it became the deciding question: answer yes and you’re spoiled; answer no and you’re not. As is, I should be allowed to deduct points for each and every item on this whole survey where I have happily accepted less than the best so others could have what they wanted or needed without me having “my own way.” *shrug* Have it your way and round it to SP:30.

Have you—

  • —Been on a cruise? Not unless being on a school field trip that took the silly little crowded tourist boat around Manhattan counts as spoiling me. SP:30.
  • —Traveled out of the country? OK, anyone who calls it spoiled counts being required to go to Albania on business is being ridiculous. And I bet any of our young boys whose only travel outside the U.S. so far has been an all-expenses-paid tour of duty in Iraq would argue the point even more vociferously. But I’ll go ahead and take the point on the basis of that trip I did to Canada. The sooner I can spoil myself again with one of those, the better I’ll be. SP:31.
  • —Met a celebrity? So I’m spoiled because I peed beside Bruce Springsteen? Ummm, I didn’t really . . . “meet” . . . him, shall we say. Take that Spoil Point away, then I’ll go ahead and take it back for Sean Connery. I didn’t really meet him either, but it still was fun to be the only other person checking out of the hotel behind him. SP:32.
  • —Been to the Caribbean? Yes, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to accept having that called being spoiled. It was torture. You wouldn’t call the prisoners at Guantanamo spoiled just because we illegally detain them there, would you? I’ll get this point back anyway, later in the survey. Just don’t make me take it here. I’d throw up. SP:32.
  • —Been to Europe? Again with being spoiled for having to suck it up in Albania? Eh, go ahead and give me a point for Copenhagen, and another for London, even though I never did anything but business on the very short jaunts there. SP:34.
  • —Been to Hawaii? Nope, not yet.
  • —Been to New York? Alright, now the survey is getting silly again. This should only be called spoiled for people who don’t have to put up with living or working there, with all due respect to New Yorkers. So take that point back off the boards. But then go ahead and add it back on, since I was spoiled enough to have my job there be down on Wall Street. Then take it on up to 36 points for any of a number of New York perks I treated myself to: I’ll award that point for my membership back then to the Manhattan Chess Club, one of the premier chess establishments worldwide, and if that ain’t spoiled then even a guest house wouldn’t do it for you. And then go ahead and give me another one to 37 just for all the thousands of times when I spoiled myself rotten by going on into New York even when I had nothing better to do with my time, just because New York happens to be the best city in the world, bar none. And round my score on up to the 40 spoil line for saying so, even though it’s true. SP:40.
  • —Eaten at the space needle in Seattle? No, but even if we don’t do the natural thing and make this survey a bit less parochial by letting any similar restaurant do, I’ll take 2 points for eating at a better site: the Windows on the World restaurant that used to be at the top of the World Trade Center in New York. SP:42.
  • —Been to the Mall of America? I’m sure I’ve been some place comparable that should win me a Spoil Ppoint or two. Let’s at least ask respondents about Disney, and I’ll take a point there and consider myself lucky for not having to take more. I’m up to SP:43.
  • —Been on the Eiffel tower in Paris? As opposed to the one that is not in Paris? No, but I’ll take one for having been to the top of the Washington Monument. SP:44.
  • —Been on the Statue of Liberty in New York? Oh wait, lemme peel myself off the floor and stop laughing first. They don’t adequately inform you about what’s going on when you get on the boat to the Statue, then you don’t even slack off or anything while heading straight to the stairs, and you wait and wait and wait through the long slow line on the statue’s base, then get turned back right at the gate to the statue itself, literally the first couple behind the last person allowed up for the day, and you’re not even “baffled/surprised when you don’t get your way”; but you have to take the Spoil Point just for being there? I think not. And no, I won’t take one for the Statue visit as part of a grade school field trip either. I’m still at SP:44.
  • —Moved more than three times because you wanted to? I don’t really agree with calling my moves spoiled ones: always did it because someone else wanted to, not because I wanted to. Whatever. Let’s call the move to Houston enough on its own to call me spoiled, since I never asked “permission” from my company, just moved and the hell with it. SP:45.
  • —Dined with local political figures? No, nor did I ever dine with any that weren’t local either. But although it was more of a joke than a matter of being spoiled, and although I was really there to dine with someone else and he just happened to tag along for the free ride, I did once dine with Ralph Nader, just me and Ralph and two others, so go on and spoil me on up to SP:46.
  • —Been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast? Multiple times to each, more than I can accurately count off, but not in any way I’d give extra spoil points for, except for the opportunity I had to make it to Assateague (which was where and when I conceived the book I published), which will in and of itself spoil me to SP:48.

Did you—

  • —Go to another country for your honeymoon? Ok, here is where I’ll go ahead and grudgingly accept back the point I refused to keep for the question about the Caribbean, as long as I don’t have to let it stay here because of the honeymoon, but rather on account of me being spoiled by being given the trip to Barbados by my business sponsors as a wedding present, nothing more in it past that. SP:49.
  • —Hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party? Different wedding. Apparently a man is more at risk for being spoiled if he gets married more than once. *rolls eyes* SP:50.
  • —Take riding or swimming lessons as a child? No, but I’ll take a Spoil Point up to 51 for the membership my parents had our family get in a private swimming pool facility. Although that was 40-some years ago, it left a sufficiently lasting impression to make it a lifelong spoil point, if not more. SP:51.
  • —Attend private school? Nope, no matter how one tries to clarify this question, I’m a publicly schooled lad through and through. SP:51.
  • —Have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you? Nope. The B threw a birthday party at me when I turned 40, but it was nowhere near sweet, and the only thing that spoiled it was her being there to throw it at me. Drop me down 3 Spoil Points for making me remember it. SP:48.

Ah, but the original survey missed some things. I know, it was just an informal non-scientific thing, but I still need to add a few items to round out the portrait of how spoiled I am. And these get added to the list without lifting the threshold for being spoiled above the original survey’s level of 40, which I’m already past anyway; these just emphasize how far past that mark I am.

Do you have—

  • —A good career that is the envy of all professions? Who wouldn’t just die to be an actuary, eh? With a Spoil Point for every year I’ve been doing it, that lifts me up to SP:80.
  • —A Harley? One can always dream of being so spoiled. SP:80.
  • —An outdoor grill? Yes, and occasionally I actually spoil myself and the family by attempting to demonstrate my feeble cooking skills on it. SP:81.
  • —A fire place? I have long shown that this marked me as spoiled by refusing to own any house that does not have one, and I spoil myself often by relaxing in front of the one I have now, yes even here in Houston where a fireplace can frequently seem a bit silly. SP:82.
  • —A basement? Nope, Houston doesn’t have those. And I remember the ones I had in my homes in the northeast well enough to know that you get at least one spoil point if you have one, more if it has certain amenities.
  • —A digital camera? Well, if my Zen Vision M mp3 player wins me a point, then my camera can’t be left out. SP:83.
  • —Sauna? One of the things I miss about the Arcola house that Rebecca’s family had, and I might even retain some of the mountain of spoiled points I collected for using theirs, even though that’s decades ago back in another lifetime. I would love to spoil myself again with a house that has its own, preferably beside a river (like theirs was) and preferably in a place that gets snow (like Houston doesn’t). SP:83.
  • —Freezer (separate from the refrigerator)? Growing up, my own family was close enough to being borderline poverty-level that a freezer was an investment and a necessity so they could save on food costs by purchasing in bulk, not the luxury that the extra expense may have suggested. And the one we have now is more a convenience than a matter of being spoiled. But go ahead and give me a point anyway, if only for all the ice cream I sometimes use it for. SP:84.
  • —An upscale neighborhood? Ummm, we just got 20 points deducted for the neighbors who keep trying to turn our area into a slum, measurably slashing the real estate values all up and down the street. And no, it isn’t spoiled to expect people to take basic care of their property. We’re back down to 64 on my scoresheet, and that’s being generous: I could easily argue it back down to single digits, just on the neighbor’s account.
  • —Automatic Garage Door Opener? Oops, the score went ahead and slipped a few more points before I could make it to the next question, down to 48. That’s how badly bad neighbors can depreciate not only the value of local property, but the entire quality of life of a person. Anyway, I know I need to get my ass out there to do some basic maintenance on our garage door equipment, but give me a Spoil Point for even having that to play handyman on. SP:49.
  • —Snowmobile? If I had one of those here in Houston, now that would be seriously spoiled.
  • —An airplane? No, but don’t laugh. That’s what makes Gene so spoiled, that and throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way.
  • —Season tickets? No, but Brandon does . . . oh, but since that is for the Texans, we call that handicapped, not spoiled. Me, I’ll still sitting at SP:49.

() My own laptop?

And last but not least –

What system do you use for your blogging? Deduct 20 points if you still bother using ADASTW; deduct 10 points if you put up with MSN; deduct 5 points if you are at Blogger or myspace; add 1 point if you’re spoiled enough to enjoy WordPress; and forgive yourself for using any other system. So that takes me to 50, which is 10 over the threshold, solidly spoiled.

And then—Cultural Multiplier: If you are an American (not counting illegal aliens), multiply by 2. That takes me to 100, seriously spoiled.

Oh wait. I forgot one.

Do you have—

( ) An alpaca? If not, eliminate all existing points and start over again from zero. I guess I’m not spoiled after all. *grin*

Written by macheide

16 February 2008 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Adrien

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