Thursday, February 14, 2013

"You can't take it with you."

I'll be the first to admit that I am cheap. I do not like spending money. It almost pains me to spend sometimes, that is how cheap I am. Often I'll have a certain conversation with my mom where I say that I want something but don't want to pay for it because it, like everything, costs money that I don't want to spend. Then Ma will respond by calling me a cheapskate or something similar to it, and then remind me that it's not that big a deal: "You can't take it with you." I've always understood that phrase to mean that money is just money, and overvaluing it to the point that you can't bear to part with it is a waste of time. There's no use putting so much value into "things", because they're all temporary. You can't take any of them with you when you die. Makes sense, right?

But these days, I've noticed that the meaning of that phrase has been flipped the other way around in many people's minds. Especially young people. For example, on my way to Grand Rapids last weekend, my friend's boyfriend started playing "When I'm Gone" by Wiz Khalifa. The chorus goes:

 I'm gonna spend it all why wait for another day/I'ma take all this money I own and blow it all away/Cause I can't take it when I'm gone, gone, gone, gone/No I can't take it when I'm gone, gone, gone

Somehow, "You can't take it with you" has become a justification or excuse for indulgence and waste, for spending money without regard to consequence. And it makes sense to everyone but me.

It's almost like "YOLO". One would think that knowing you only live once would encourage a person to enjoy his life, but also not do stupid, toxic, or dangerous things that would end it too quickly. But no, it means exactly the opposite. Do anything you want, just because, why not? Who cares?

Really? How in the world did this happen?  I know I'm Christian and old-fashioned and all, but I cannot be the only one to see how backwards things have gotten... right?

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