'Limited time offer'


Seth Brown

Earlier tonight I found myself watching a really stupid cartoon on Netflix, even though my queue was full of movies and shows I am more excited to watch. Why, you might ask? Well, I had been informed that this particular cartoon was being removed in two days, so I had a limited time to watch it. This led me to choose it over other better shows, because I am an idiot.

To be fair, it wasn't a complete waste of time, because at least I could write about it. Some people just make things up for their columns, but I put in the time to do research -- by which I mean, being stupid -- because I believe in artistry.

Regardless, my obsession with limited-time offers is hardly limited to Netflix. I've noticed that my own books sit on the shelves while I read borrowed books with abandon, whether from a library or a friend. And it's probably not just me; surely some of you have gone to your usual restaurant and decided that instead of your favorite dish, you were going to grab the limited-time offer, even if it was something as unimpressive as a McRib.

There is something in our brains that is not good at making choices, and consequently we are easily swayed by things like "Now 10 percent lower than our last unreasonably high price!" or "You only have limited time to get this thing you aren't excited about!" or "If anyone else at the party wanted cheese they should have eaten it before now!"

Maybe that last one is just me. But what I think we forget is that every offer is a limited time offer, because we are not immortal (even if we are sometimes immoral and fill ourselves with t). When your life has limited time, everything in it is inherently a limited time offer, because we don't have time to try everything.

This has become especially true with regards to media, with many times more books, movies, and shows than anyone could try in a hundred lifetimes. So any time spent consuming media that does nothing for us, even if it's soon to be unavailable, is time wasted.

It's not just media though. I also have a limited time to eat at my favorite restaurant. I have a limited time during which people will read my column. I have a limited time during which I'm still capable of writing another book. It's good to be aware that all of our time is limited, which is why some people will tell you to live each day like it's your last.

And those people are crazy, so don't do that! On your last day, it makes sense to spend all your money, say whatever you like to people without regards for repercussions, and personally I am planning to order up a plate of fugu fish, which I have always wanted to try but have avoided because it is incredibly poisonous. (Granted, any day on which I did that might well become my last day, but I'd rather not rush it.)

No, living like it's your last day is probably a mistake. But living like you have infinite time is probably also a mistake. So I'm trying to enjoy every day. Tonight, for example, my partner cooked us up some delicious vegetable stew seasoned lightly with Italian herbs.

It was a limited thyme offering.

Seth Brown is a humor writer, the author of "From God To Verse," and has books on sale for a limited time. His work appears weekly in the North Adams Transcript, and weakly on RisingPun.com.


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