Good Material for Material Goods

Sometimes, when I think about what’s going on with the natural world, I get a little sad. But after the tears have dried and the Rohypnol does its thing, I remember that God loves me. So everything will be okay. I’m just too attached to material goods, and that, brothers and sisters, is not the way to get into heaven, as our savior and all-around #1 guy Jesus Christ pointed out on numerous occasions. Probably he said it even more times than the disciples actually wrote down. I’ve been working on this hang-up, though. I stopped being attached to fancy cars and big houses and those stainless steel barbecues the size of U-boat quarterdecks. But try as I might, I just can’t give up those wide open spaces.

I think it started during the Ford administration, when I was a schoolboy. Back then we were utterly indoctrinated into materialism. It was all about the Grand Canyon, the vast reaches of the Arctic tundra, mighty rivers running through primordial forests of fir and fern. America was like some gigantic beer commercial, and it all belonged to us. “This land is your land, this land is my land/ From Cauliflower, to the Newark Highlands”, we would sing. This goes to show public education was already beyond repair in 1976. We were warned not to litter on OUR LAND, partly because it would make the Indian cry, but mostly because it was OUR LAND. Don’t throw litter out the windows of your Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser that gets 8 miles per gallon, because littering is bad for OUR LAND. So I got the feeling that I owned America, in a general kind of way, even if I didn’t have the keys. This is a ridiculous attitude, and set me up for disappointment later on.

Let us look at an example of how my delusional thinking led me abaft: trees. As the years went by, more and more old-growth redwood trees were cut down to make patio decks for Sunset Magazine articles. Entire forests of lesser trees disappeared, as well, probably to build subdivisions on reclaimed wetlands. I took it personally, because I thought those were my trees, at least the ones on public land. The government was selling my trees to lumber companies, and I wasn’t getting a dime of the proceeds. Later on I found out it’s crazy to just have trees standing there doing nothing, when with a little judicious felling they could create JOBS. And that’s what has been getting me all mixed up.

Jobs, like the economy, or net worth, or God, are real things. You can measure them. They occupy mass. Things like trees, rivers, and coal underneath mountains are nothing more than commodities. ‘Commodities’ is just a word. It’s a mere idea. ‘Tree’ is just a word. Trees are mere ideas. If you go around believing that things are ‘real’, just because there’s a word for them, the next thing you know you’re marching for ‘peace’. Can ‘peace’ blow up a village full of Southeast Asians? Of course not. So it isn’t real. War, on the other hand, is real. Ask anybody that lives in a country with land mines. So I began the long, painful process of disengaging myself from the illusory notion that one can ‘own’ anything, when after all we’re just an agglomeration of electrons whizzing around in the shape of a human, and electrons can’t own anything.

I’m making progress. Just the other day it was announced that we would be drilling for oil in some Arctic wildlife refuge. Time was, this would have bothered me. “Hey, that’s MY wildlife refuge, ” I would have said, not realizing what a child I was being (I was probably a child at the time). Sure it’s my wildlife refuge. It’s all of our wildlife refuge, and it’s just taking up space. When we’re dead, it will make any difference to us personally if we drilled it or even hammered a few nails into it? You can’t take it with you, people! Your grandchildren will never even miss the thing. Give up this crazy materialism and get with Jesus. Either way, it will all soon end when the Book of Revelations comes true and the world is destroyed, so we might as well gas up while we can. Did God go easy on the dinosaurs, just because they were environmentally correct? Let’s face it, people: if we can’t really own it, we might as well use it. When the End Times come, you’ll find me praying on my bitchen new gas-powered redwood deck.

BEN TRIPP can be reached at

His book, ‘Square In The Nuts’, has been held up at the printers by thugs but will be released as soon as hostage negotiations conclude.

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Ben Tripp is America’s leading pseudo-intellectual. His most recent book is The Fifth House of the Heart.