Modern man.

I’ve spent the better part of my adult life working in an industry that thrives on the notion that buying things is the only way to stay relevant. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that some brands of pasta aren’t better than others, or that the latest business management software won’t make running your hipster coffee shop easier—but we operate on the principle that every product you interact with says something about who you are. From internet security to luxury cars, your reputation is on the line.

All this noise was running through my head a few weeks back when I passed a stretch of jewelry stores in my hometown. The windows were filled with sparkles next to tiny signs that referenced a range of financing plans available. Show your love with debt that’ll follow you for the next 20 years! Talk about romance.

But try as we may, few of us are immune to the slight buzz that follows buying new things. As a matter of fact, my lady friend and I get each other gifts all the time. Last week, I went nuts and picked up three packs of Mrs. Grossman’s brand stickers and Sunday she came home with a $2 pack of cucumber seeds to be plant in the backyard. Now as things continue to move in the right direction, and everyone keeps asking when we’ll seal the deal, I can only hope that whatever THE ring lacks in diamonds and debt can be offset with smiles and stickers.

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