Sunday, November 4, 2007

"Thanks for the gift" (Now what do I do?)

I have an interesting dilemma on my hands. I have money to spend, but nothing I want to buy.

I received a gift card to Borders books for presenting at the ISCA conference.
I received a gift card to Big 5 sporting goods from a good friend, for helping coach football this year.
I have two gift certificates on file with

What am I supposed to do with all this?
Here I am trying to eliminate things from my life. I haven't been buying anything (well that's not completely true because I bought a neti pot in the hopes I could clear up my sinuses) new other than consumables like food and toilet paper. In order to spend these certificates, I'll have to buy something.

I know that I could give them to someone else, but since Robert gave me the gift - shouldn't I use it? Just giving it away seems disrespectful somehow.

The others - amazon and borders - have less personal meaning. Therefore easier to re-gift.

I briefly considered purchasing song downloads through amazon, but discovered that gift certificates can't be used to purchase song downloads.

Great! (read that last word with a lot of sarcasm)

When I began this process, this was not a result I had anticipated. During my radio interview, Dick Gordon (host of "The Story") asked me what people should get me for my birthday or Christmas. It was a good question, but I didn't really think about the answer; I didn't fully consider the implications.

What do people get me? Gift cards seem like a great idea. Instead of getting me some thing, they give me money with which I can buy what I want. Problem is, I don't want anything. I have wonderful people in my life, who want to express their appreciation for me.

How do they do that now that I don't want things?

Maybe this is becoming a larger philosophical issue.

How do I express appreciation and love?
What does it mean to give some "thing" to somebody?
What is the best way to express thanks?
Are material goods the best expression of appreciation?
If they're not, what else is there?
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