I was b r ush ing my teeth last week. I reached for the tooth paste. I noticed there was a tube of toothpaste that was full, practically brand new and another one that was rolled down almost to the dispensing end of the tube. Jill had gotten out the new tube the previous night and decided to leave the old, almost gone tube for me.
Now I am not cheap, just frugal. The old saying waste not, want not is very applicable to me. See it is not just the toothpaste but the peanut butter jar, jelly jar and the bottles of ketchup, mustard or BBQ sauce. Paint cans are another thing that I will scrape and brush out making sure I don’t leave any in the can.
That tube of toothpaste may look depleted but not to me. I am going to squeeze, wring and twist until that last bit comes out. As a matter of fact, that tube provided me with an additional week of teeth brushing! I haven’t got to the point of cutting the tube open and scraping out the toothpaste with my toothbrush…yet.
Again, I am not cheap, I just want to get my money’s worth out of any product. Ink pen quits writing, shake it down a couple times and you can get a few more letters out of it. Turn that bottle of syrup, honey or ketchup upside down a couple of minutes and you will get a few more drops out of it. The pencil won’t sharpen in the sharpener any more, get a knife and whittle it back and it will write just fine. The Maxwell House Coffee jingle ‘Good to the Last Drop’ speaks to me personally, however (just for the record), I have never licked the coffee pot to get the last drop of coffee (thought of it, but pot’s always too hot).
I’m not sure where this trait comes from. Probably not hereditary. I don’t remember mom and dad being this way. I grew up being taught not to waste stuff but not being frugal to the point I am today. And, I promise you my kids did not pick up the trait from me. Maybe I’m just weird (naw, just different).
I look at our society and notice not too many others like me either. We seem to use stuff until we are done with it or tired of it and just toss it aside. I see this in relationships, vocations, possessions, foods (leftovers) and the like.
Got a new phone, use it a year, another, newer comes out and toss the old and get the new (still lots of use in old one) but the lure of the new is better. This is true with our vehicles, our laptops/tablets and all those other gadgets we have. We have this attraction to the new, and shiny is so tempting.
Sometimes this is not a bad thing, new can be helpful, easier or more convenient. But we can’t just throw out the good for the better.
Probably the best Biblical example of this is found at the beginning of the Bible in the beginning of everything, the book of Genesis. In the third chapter, Adam and Eve had everything in the garden, literally everything They lacked nothing and even had that one time of the day with God, the Creator. Then the convincing serpent enters. “Do you really have everything? How come you don’t eat from this tree here? It is better and will make you better. Go ahead and eat from it and see if I’m not right.” (This is my translation of Genesis 3:1-7) We know the rest of the story, Adam and Eve punished, serpent punished and Adam and Eve kicked out of garden. All of this for wanting better when what they had was the already the best.
We are the same way, the tube of toothpaste is down to the end, let’s go for the new one. It’s easier, better looking and more convenient. We follow the same lure as Adam and Eve: It looks better, it will taste good, it will be easier and make us smarter.
When will be learn to be satisfied with what we have rather than chase after the shiny to the eye, pleasing to the palette and that what we think will make us smarter, look cooler. I have found that what I have to work for I appreciate more. That which is working doesn’t necessarily need replaced. You know, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Squeezing that last bit from the tube, Bro. Tim