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I did it. I finally got new shoes. It had been about a year, maybe a year and a half, and my old, reliable Chuck Taylors had finally done what Chuck Taylors do best: fall the fuck apart. But, the world being what it is, and me being who I am, I just plowed ahead, strapping on decreasingly structurally sound sneakers onto my increasingly sore feet. No need to rock the boat if I could squeeze a few more days out of these laughably dilapidated Converse, right?

At least, that’s how I lived until this week. Friends, readers, subscribers, feast your eyes on my new kicks:

I mention my fancy footwear for two reasons. First, in the absence of actually hanging out in person with anyone for the past six months, I — and I imagine plenty of you, too — desperately crave the validation that comes from showing off some new shit to a group of extremely patient onlookers. So if I can’t model these shiny Pro-Keds for my pals IRL, then this blog will have to do.

And second: I’ve been thinking a lot about splurges, the sort of unnecessary, wholly selfish purchases that serve no real purpose other than giving our poor overworked brains permission to squirt out a little serotonin to combat 2020’s prevailing mood of “depressed anxiety.”

So: What absolutely egregious tchotchkes have you bought during the pandemic? Or, if you haven’t treated yourself to totally self-indulgent splurge yet, maybe you’ve got your eye on something special that you’re saving for the nebulous “When This Is All Over” time? Let’s rally around a shared need to soothe our ravaged souls with the fickle god of capitalism.

It’s office hours, folks. Let’s get weird.

Update, 5:26 PM: Wow, not only have you all squandered your money on some absolutely great pandemic creature comforts, but you’ve also helped propel Discourse Blog to its first-ever #1 position on Substack’s big board of content.

Truly office hours is growing more powerful by the day. You love to see it!

(pic via Comedy Central. Got that Ay Ay Ron?)