The Evolution of Want

So, my house currently has, like, 36 rolls of toilet paper in it right now. I mean, I know it’s not out of the ordinary to have 12 of those double rolls sitting around. Maybe you’re a big family and you hit up the Costco for the 24-pack of double rolls on occasion.

My current stockpile, awaiting some (shitty) apocalypse, has to do with the embarrassing act of forgetting that I bought toilet paper.

I mean flat-out forgetting that I bought a 12-pack and put it in the boot of my car, forgetting to bring it inside because the weather was bad. So, the other day, I apparently also thought that I’d bought toilet paper but, of course, I couldn’t SEE any, so I bought more. 12 more rolls. And these were those MEGA rolls, so they’re like a roll and a half in each. So, it was like buying 18 rolls. But toilet paper roll math is hard because one brand’s double roll is another’s mega or single and it’s all just hard.

And then this morning, stopped at the drugstore and there was this 12-pack of Angel Soft double rolls on sale for the low, low price of $2.99 with my Walgreens saver number something or other so I grabbed that.

Then, on the way home, I decided to finally take my car to the car wash because mag chloride gray was the predominant color and the weight of the mag chloride on my teeny tiny Fiat was really fucking with the gas mileage (I jest, but not really).

So, after running my car through the neighborhood $7 wash (it’s really $3 but that’s a shitty wash and you buy it once and then you know better), I parked it by the vacuums to tidy-up the inside since Clark Kent is borrowing it to go visit his sister this evening. I scoop out all the junk mail accumulated from my business mailbox, straw wrappers, the odd french fry. I get to the trunk (which on a Fiat is an adorable term because it’s barely big enough to hold a pair of sneakers and self-loathing), open that sucker up and LO, AND BEHOLD — 12 ROLLS OF TOILET PAPER.

I have a moment of just staring.

Because this, folks, is what 44 and sober looks like.

Anywhoo. That’s why I have 36 rolls of toilet paper in a 900 square foot, one bathroom condo right now.

But I got to thinking today about WANT.

What did I WANT for Christmas?

I mean, the biggest thing is for our nation not to have an impending leader that’s talking about how great it would be to have another nuclear arms race when he’s not too busy fucking with Chinese diplomatic policy via Twitter.

But aside that, what do I really want?

I remember as a kid, my brother, sister and I would huddle around the dining room table with the Sears and Roebuck Wish Book. Ahhhh, the Wish Book. Because right here was a book that held every piece of happiness you could ever hope to receive, complete with price (and weight). I mean, price really didn’t matter because SANTA was a rich motherfucker and you just asked for what you wanted. But then you realized that Santa holds a 9-to-5 in downtown Houston and when mom says, “That’s a bit much, isn’t it?” you come to realize that maybe asking for “all of page 504” was a pretty dick move.

But we made our lists.

And the success of each Christmas day was measured by how much of our lists were delivered in paper-wrapped fanfare…and how disappointed we were about the ruled lines of notebook paper that still held wishes unfulfilled.

But these days, I don’t have a list. I don’t.

Clark Kent is pretty screwed when it comes to shopping for me because I don’t want anything.

My mom just asks.

My sister surprises me.

My brother…well, that’s another story. He does HIM. And that’s the most important thing.

My WANT has changed.


Because at the holidays, I look out instead of in and ask — who needs what?


A four-letter word. It’s hard to need stuff.

It’s hard to need help. Money. Love. Presents. The electric bill paid. A coat. A new pair of shoes because fuck this pair.

Need is hard.

All I want for the holidays is to help makes someone else’s Need…not be so goddamned hard.

And frankly, it makes for a better holiday — for this non-Christian, spiritual but not religious woman with a boyfriend she calls Clark Kent, two dogs, an asshole cat, and a car that looks like the poop emoji.

So, here’s my question to you: during a season where we’re asked “what THINGS will make us happy?” — what’s your answer?

Do you want things…or do you want feels?

And maybe if the list is longer with things than feels…next year might be a fine time to make a different kind of list.

Because I’ve never found happiness in a flat screen TV.

Or a sweater.

Or a pair of earrings or ridiculously expensive purse.

But I have found happiness in someone else’s eyes.

A smile of gratitude.

The knowledge that I am able to help someone see their child open a gift where their tree had a good chance of being bare.

And even in years where money is short (like this one — this is what career shifts do, y’all), I still have a dollar.

Clothes to donate.

The ability to hand something warm to someone out in the cold.

And it doesn’t make me better because this is what I choose. It just makes me different than the person I used to be. The one who would sit and make lists of all the things that would make me happy.

When what makes me happiest these days is that goofy motherfucker in the next room. My dorky dogs. Hearing an audience’s applause. Seeing a friend succeed.

Wants evolve. And maybe the highest hope we can hold for ourselves is that our wants turn into questions about how we can help others meet their needs. And it’s okay to want THINGS. I’m just saying that maybe the list of things versus feels should be weighted towards feels…and if it’s not — perhaps this is the source of discontent year-round.


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