“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold bought or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.” — John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, 1989

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A mass-produced, nondescript plastic pen to replace the one his girlfriend gave him when they broke up

A heavily processed ham and cheese sandwich in plastic wrap on a plane ride to England when he and Diane moved to London together (distraught as he was, the breakup didn’t last long)

867 Big Macs when he worked at a London McDonald’s while his genius girlfriend Diane put countless hours into her prestigious U.K. fellowship, because he couldn’t find a job doing what he really loved — kickboxing

4,988 beers when he worked nights at a pub after his McDonald’s shift while trying to get his kickboxing career off the ground (he both drank and sold the beers, but he did not buy any)

Another heavily processed ham and cheese sandwich on the plane ride back to America with Diane after she finished her illustrious fellowship (the sandwich helped assuage his feelings of guilt about not having gotten his kickboxing career off the ground)

40-50 likely made-in-a-sweatshop items at Target or Sears when he and Diane moved into their new American apartment, which had a lot of processed, bought, and sold features like insulation and lightbulbs

An iPod Nano so he could finally play music without hoisting a heavy boombox over his head in the middle of the night

250 plastic guitar pics

25 packs of creatine supplements, because they might just make him a better kickboxer and help his career

A small but respectable kickboxing gym in a strip mall

40 pairs of boxing gloves

Business cards

Health insurance

Business insurance

A marriage license

A ring

A bouquet of wildflowers and a six-pack of craft beer when he found out Diane was pregnant, and quickly realized he would have to juggle being a dad with trying to get his kickboxing career off the ground (still) while Diane went to her prestigious job

More business cards

Renter’s insurance

A Tony Robbins seminar about succeeding in business, which he never told anyone about, not even Diane, because just thinking about it fills him with intense shame (even though he did get some good tips out of it)

More pens, so Diane can continue circling big words in her giant dictionary, a pastime of hers that makes him feel inferior but also strangely excites him

Two books about being a dad, which he reads three times each, circling important information like “how to be an emotionally supportive partner” or “cord blood banking — is it right for you?” with one of his many plastic pens

Life insurance

400 plastic electrical outlet covers for baby-proofing because he is a guy who pushes glass aside in a parking lot with his sneaker, so his girlfriend/wife doesn’t step on it, and dammit if he’s not going to protect the shit out of his child

A heavily researched car seat

Approximately 250 infant things that he’s not sure he needs or wants, but that everyone says he must buy, even if they’re processed, and he can sell them later (blue plastic pacifiers, processed formula because Diane is iffy about breastfeeding, bottles, bottle cleaners, a plastic thing meant to look like a field of grass to hold the bottles and cleaners as they dry, a crib and several crib-like baby loungers, a plastic snot sucker, a wipe warmer that breaks within a week, and thousands of diapers, which are a dagger to his heart because he knows they will end up in a landfill, but he also does not want to deal with cloth diapers because who has the time and he’s noble but not that noble)



Toddler swim/soccer/ballet/guitar lessons

Couples counseling

A bigger kickboxing gym

More life insurance

51,000 items for his daughter from birth until she becomes a successful doctor (she takes after her mother)

A retirement home in the mountains (with a makeshift kickboxing gym in the garage)

Another Tony Robbins seminar on retirement (which he listens to in secret, late at night, on his old iPod Nano that he’s somehow kept working all these years because he is Lloyd Dobler and he does not want to buy another fucking thing)