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Donn King


Things I no longer care about


    1. Impressing anybody.

    Several things on this list relate to this meta-motive. But this makes me think of something I learned back in the 1980s. I knew Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. I don't mean we were big buddies. When he passed me in the hall of Wal-Mart headquarters, he knew my name, but that's just because he was the kind of person who could meet you once and still remember your name five years later. I talked to him on, like, five different occasions. He didn't have a swimming pool at his home, a house that would fit right into almost any modestly upscale suburb, and he drove a beat-up old pickup truck because he liked the truck. At his death his net worth was $8.6 billion (the equivalent of $18.2 billion in today's money). He only had $6 billion when I knew him, but that still made him the richest man in America at the time. He said when you have $6 billion, what do you care what the neighbors think? But, he said, he figured money was a great way of keeping score. He thought if Wal-Mart was making money, it showed that they were serving people. That mattered a lot more to him than fancy swimming pools. Plus the ability to drive any dang truck he chose.

    2. Making a lot of money.

    It's not that I've never cared about money, but rather that I have cared about what money could do for me. Seems obvious, but it appears to me that some people are motivated by the money itself, like racking up as many points as possible on a video game. I just wanted to make enough to be comfortable. I have realized it doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy, and I'd rather have more time than more money.

    3. What someone thinks of my hair.

    I used to care if someone thought my hair looked funny. I'm not going to neglect it on purpose. It's not that I've quit taking care of myself. But, again, I'm more interested in it being easy to wash and forget about than that it be a particular style or have anyone say, "Nice hair!"

    4. Dressing up.

    I'm not going to be a slob, but I'm dressing for comfort.

    5. The cheapest thing on the menu.

    At this point in my life, we're certainly not rich, but things have come together nicely so that we are comfortable. For much of my life, the first thing I would look at on a menu was the right-hand side. I learned from dad to order the cheapest thing that would actually feed you. I have to admit it's nice to not have to do that.

    6. Getting ahead at work.

    I still get satisfaction out of serving people. But I just don't think any more about whether it's going to boost my career or position me for a promotion, etc.

    7. TV in general.

    Honestly, I've never much cared about TV. But over the years there have been a few favorite TV shows that I would try to make sure I could see regularly. These days, though, whenever I travel I never even turn on the TV in the hotel room. I could be happy never seeing another one.

    8. Reading most magazines.

    Magazines are different than TV. For much of my life I devoured magazines of most any kind. I was constantly looking for possible markets as a freelance writer, and although it's a bit old school, back in the day I did OK with that. I used to haunt the extensive magazine rack at our local book store. I still subscribe to a couple of magazines, but for the most part I can go all the way up and down that magazine rack and not find any that I care enough about to pick up and browse, much less buy.

    9. People who are wrong on the Internet.

    This classic meme used to define me. No more. I can watch the idiots with no urge to confront them with their idiocy. (Well, only occasionally.)

    Duty calls on xkcd

    10. The latest electronic gadget.

    Recently I noticed that iOS 16 was available for my iPhone, but was not showing up on my iPad, which is older. I figured the iPad is coming to the end of its useful life. I realize that I use my laptop and phone all the time, but I mostly use the iPad for reading ebooks. Rather than buy another iPad, I determined to just buy a Kindle. I usually don't go for the latest generation of anything, but rather get one a generation back, maybe two. While trying to decide on which Kindle, the iOS 16 option showed up on my iPad, so the decision has been delayed.

    Note: I didn't install iOS 16 on either device yet. I want to wait until the get the bugs squashed, and I'd like a little reassurance that I won't lose functionality on a few specific apps.

    Because of my work, I always used to think I had to have the latest devices in order to stay current with my clients and students. Now? Nope. As long as I can read my books, write, get email, and play a few specific games, I don't care if it's the latest.

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