I don’t think anyone on earth likes to think of themselves as materialistic, unless that’s their whole shtick. But outside of such Hollywood Illuminati as Paris Hilton (who is famous for being famous, which could be the topic of a whole other post) most people feel some guilt for acquiring more and more stuff, especially when they take a look at the rest of the world and see how little people in other countries have.
But we still do it. Some people (including myself at times) almost obsessively. I know a lot of people who actually name the inanimate objects they acquire, and I’m certainly no stranger to this. My car’s name is Chloe. My iPhone’s name is Mavis. My computer’s name is Mark Twain. My laser printer is called Harry Connick Junior… and the list goes on.
Filling the void?
I think it would be way too simplistic — if not outright wrong — to say that we name our possessions to fill a void. But that still doesn’t explain why when my mother asks how Chloe’s doing, I tell her that Chloe needed to have her timing belt replaced. And it doesn’t seem weird I tell my roommate that I misplaced Mavis and he tells me he last saw her on the kitchen counter.
People name things that mean a lot to them, perhaps. Or things that make their lives better. Hell, we even name things that make our lives worse — like my next door neighbour, Doucheface McGee, who always slams the door and stomps around outside my bedroom window every morning.
Maybe we give objects like this names because their original name are too unwieldy to say. Instead of asking, “Who the hell dumped milk on my blu-ray player?” It’s way simpler to just say, “Who the hell dumped milk on Leonard?”
I might have believed all this. Might have deluded myself into believing the naming of gadgetry was a phenomenon of materialism. But three weeks ago my life changed. I bought an iPhone, a device that through its utility and convenience has completely changed my life. And I suppose that I could seek help for this addiction to materialism, the naming of gadgetry, but I can’t find any decent psychologists in this city. No one to help stem this patholgy…
I’m going to go see if there’s an app for that.