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The Deluded Diva Speaks... Conspicuous consumption no longer cool

November 16, 2010

I read somewhere that showing off your latest tech toys, wearing tons of jewelry and parking a new ride in your driveway has become gauche.
Hip, hip, hooray! In this troubled economy, I could lose my job at any moment. In case you’re wondering, my current job is piddling and puttering, but I may have to give it up and return to the work force. I’m doing everything possible to avoid losing my dream job.
The news that being a conspicuous consumer is no longer cool, made me jump for joy. In fact, I may be the coolest girl on the block.
My truck is going on 11 years old and I’ve begun coloring my own hair. I even tried cutting it myself and ended up looking like a green haired Buster Brown. (No one ever told me that you should never color gray hair with any shade that smacks of ash. I used a color called “light ash brown” and glowed a pale green for six weeks.)
I’ve begun reusing things I once threw away. That includes aluminum foil and the cotton swabs from vitamin pill bottles. Someone suggested I learn how to darn socks but I told them I know how – every time I wash my underwear, I scream “Where are my darn socks!!” I also know how to damn socks. I could give lessons if you are interested.
My heat hasn’t been turned on yet despite a few dips into the 30s. My drafty old house has 12-foot ceilings and in the best of times, when the heat runs non-stop, the only warm place is on top of a very tall ladder. What’s the point? For the first time since menopause set it, I’m cool as a cucumber.
With gas prices through the roof, I’ve begun coasting while driving down hills. Race up, coast down. I feel like a child again. I figure it saves on gasoline and it sure messes with the minds of other drivers.
For Thanksgiving I’m considering serving a big plump roast of Spam, with a side of Macaroni and Cheese – no, wait, hold the cheese. Dessert will be a NEW peppermint – not one from the bottom of my purse coated with unknown particles. What IS that stuff that peppermints attract?
Shopping with a handful of coupons is way too challenging. By the time I get around to using them, they’ve either expired or they’re stuck to the peppermints in the bottom of my purse.
One thing for sure. Keeping up with the Joneses – at least the lady who lives in my house - is no longer a very big deal.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who lives in Starkville. She edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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