Monday, August 13, 2012

Content Craving: A Warning

Netflix.  Amazon Instant Video. iTunes.  The list goes on and on.  And I've finally coined a name for it (a name that I think is original, at least): DCC (Digital Content Cravings).  There are many cravings that do not harm the body (unlike craving, and thus eating, ten cupcakes), but may harm other areas of one's life.

Africa. Europe. Asia. Somewhere you saw in Budget Travel. If you're addicted to travel, you probably have a way cooler life, and photos, than I do.  I, too, have this obsession, but cannot feed it regularly, so it grows angry in a closet somewhere in this metaphor.  You've probably been to all six habitable continents, ridden a camel, and eaten something that would make Anthony Bourdain cringe.  But this addiction, at least,  usually results in a more well-rounded, globally conscious existence.  Been there.

Richard. Bob. Sam. That guy with dimples and funky "kicks".  If you're addicted to love (well, Robert Palmer said it best, "You're Gonna Have To Face It"), then you have probably spent a lot of money trying to looking pretty, meeting your dream man, and falling madly in love (again).  You will eventually break up with said love interest, but after damaging friendships in the time you spent obsessed with him, you may find a negative end to your love addiction: Spending Saturday night alone watching HGTV, crying into an empty pizza box.  Been there.

Ann Taylor Loft. Banana Republic.  Gap.  That thrift store where they have a "deal" on the most expensive used stuff you've ever laid eyes on.  If you're addicted to shopping, you may end up with beautiful things and experiences, but a mountain of debt, an empty bank account, and sense of desperation to sell everything on Craig's List.  And if money ain't a thing because you're wealthy (I hate probably have the new Stella McCartney bag AND a reality show), you may eventually end up poor (aka, living within MY means).  Since the emergence of the Internet, shopping has become too easy.  This type of obsession is one of the more common, and all kidding aside, serious addictions that Americans face, and it most closely relates to the reason for this post: Digital Content Cravings.  There NOW.

My latest, and greatest, harmless (as in, you won't lose your job or your dignity), but still harmful (as in, you may empty out that aforementioned bank account) obsession is adding to my digital library.  I would never have guessed ten years ago that I would be utterly obsessed with downloading digital content.  And I'm not talking books for grad school or my job.  I'm talking Mumford and Sons' new single AND season three of Pretty Little Liars.  I'm talking a flat monthly rate for all the episodes of Hoarders that will make me feel better about my own state of overall cleanliness.  I'm talking $1.99 per episode for the new stuff, people.  Or $1.29 for that "new hotness" (that new Mumford song IS awesome).  You may be thinking, "Everyone downloads stuff.  That's no addiction."  Wrong enablers.  It is BAD.  It's "I just got home from a rough day and all I want is that episode of Bethenny Getting Married when she pees in the bucket in her wedding dress" bad.  It's "I am already buying gas, snacks, and paying for a hotel room for this road trip, BUT let's go ahead and make THREE CDs of songs to listen to on it" bad.  It's even "I think I want Moe's tonight! Inner Voice: No, you can save that $5.00 and watch TWO episodes of the new season" bad.  This addiction, while not life-threatening, is also time consuming.  For the last few weeks, well, I've had some time to kill (okay, okay, you can hate me all my 12 month employee and Mommy friends).  So, instead of reading the new Emily Giffin book, or taking in a sunset, I often find myself on the computer realizing that I NEED three songs by Keith Sweatt in order to relive my youth (really!?), gazing into the eyes of Toby Cavanaugh, or trying to solve the latest mystery in Allison DuBois' dream, or even wondering what lies buried under those 400 plus milk cartons and piles of cat feces in that apartment.

My point is this.  It's a not so fine line, people.  It's a not so fine line between the click of a button, and having to change into real jeans instead of pajama pants, drive to Target, and pick up a DVD or a CD.  The digital age means money in the pocket of a lot of somebodies.  Make sure it doesn't mean you having to eat Ramen Noodles.

This has been a warning.  Now, I have some PLL to watch...

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