Five Nearly Impossible Things Still Easier Than Finding a PlayStation

It’s been impossible to find the PlayStation 5 and honestly, I can think of many life events that were less difficult for me to get through than finding one of these things, thanks to a shortage in chips or something. Since November 10 when it was released, I have braved the winter cold before sunrise, signed up for rewards programs, text and email alerts, followed four accounts on Twitter with real time updates, logged into eight different websites or shopping applications which I check at all times, and have done dozens of searches a day. All for nothing.

With each new avenue I take to achieve the impossible, the obsession grows. I have missed those online sales by less than ten minutes. Others I’ve missed by 20 to 30 minutes, but in the end I never win, and that just fuels me to try harder. No matter how much I do I still cannot find one, since I am merely a human and my competitors are bots, programmed to humiliate me. I refuse to pay scalpers one dollar over retail price. The obsession is grown so strong in me that as of this writing, it is the weekend, and the internet tells me that product drops rarely happen on weekends. So I feel as if I have no purpose at all for my day; perhaps no purpose for my life.

But I am still checking the websites.

I remember when I was a kid, I would focus exclusively on something, like getting a parakeet or a pet ferret, so trust me – I am no stranger to obsession. I’ve been obsessed with all kinds of things, whether it be girls who put me in the friend zone, the Segway before anyone knew what it was, or Facebook. But at least in those obsessions, I convinced myself of the value of a ferret, or the girl who ignored me. I don’t even know why I want this new PlayStation so badly beyond maybe reduced fan noise and 4K streaming. I don’t know why I have this burning passion for finding one of these ugly monstrosities that’s the size and shape of an airplane hangar.

At this point, finding one of these things, which I do not need at all, has become harder than at least five life events that I can think of. Here they are, in order of increasing difficulty:

Scoring Once-in-a-Lifetime Concert Tickets

Deadheads are pretty serious about seeing The Grateful Dead, so battling millions of them for tickets in a mad scramble to their 50th Anniversary weekend event in 2015 was no joke. I beat out what Billboard described were “millions” of other requests for tickets to three nights of Fare Thee Well. We broke Ticketmaster’s onsale records by lining up in a queue half a million strong. The event, held at Chicago’s Soldier Field, sold 210,000 tickets in one hour. Forbes estimated the average ticket price was going for about $2,000 in the days after it sold out. And somehow, with two phones and one computer, my wife and I spent less than three hours to score two tickets for all three nights. It was a breeze.

Gaining Admission Into College

I had an easier time getting into college than I’ve had trying to secure a PlayStation 5. To get into college, I rode in the car while my Dad carted my ass around the country for visits, I had to fill out a couple of forms, type up some essays, gather it all up, and make sure that it got mailed to the right address. The hardest part about doing that was the mental pressure and the waiting. But after a few hours of work I just checked the mail daily and soon discovered that I got into a lot of great schools. No sweat.

Getting Rid of My Mortgage Interest During the Housing Crash

When the U.S. economy crashed in 2008, I had a very bizarre job at an outpatient neurology clinic teaching insomniacs how to sleep. My hours got reduced to less than full time, so I picked up the phone and called my mortgage company, based in the Bible belt, and asked for help. I knew about the government’s mortgage assistance program and I also brought up Jesus, so we prayed together about the hard times, I stuffed some pay stubs into an envelope, and I got a reduction in my home interest payments for FIVE YEARS.

Teaching Shakespeare in an Outlaw Lumberjack Town

I had less difficulty teaching literature to the teenaged kids of prisoners and lumberjacks in an Oregon mountain town than I’ve had screaming “take my money” to Sony. In a place that didn’t even require four years of High School English, I tried to teach seniors Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness while drunken stepdads showed up to parent teacher conferences to pummel me. I dealt with families who relocated to the region to be close to the prison so they could visit Dad, and I look back at the memories fondly compared to the past few months.

Getting Type 1 Diabetes at Age Eight

I had an easier time learning how to inject myself with insulin syringes when I was eight years old and newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes than I’ve had finding this device that will let me to play with pretend guns and watch YouTube. To learn how to be diabetic, all I had to do was practice with syringes on an orange at the instruction of a nurse one afternoon. I learned to overcome the fear of sticking a piece of metal into my body a bunch of times per day and my own impending early death while I still young enough to be watching cartoons and – boom, I had it covered.

I have the perspective to know that my problems could be worse in these troubling times, with death and destruction all around us, and I am thankful for that. This is truly a first-world problem. I also realize that once the inventory increases, I will get my precious PlayStation 5 and I will have nothing left to obsess about. So maybe I should just enjoy the ride, remember this feeling of this great thirst for gadgetry, and….go check those websites again.

This LinkedIn IPO Is Bubble-icious!

This LinkedIn IPO reminds me that I’ve been getting emails from LinkedIn for many years, and I’ve ignored 90% of them because they seemed pretty spam-like to me.  They came out of nowhere, periodically reminding me that my profile was incomplete or that I needed to connect with the very people I usually try to avoid in my life outside of the cubicle-strewn worlds of my jobs.

Well, congratulations, LinkedIn.  Those emails must have worked, because LinkedIn’s IPO, which may signal the start of a second tech bubble and a return to rapid economic growth, is quite a robust one.  In the month prior to the IPO, the estimated price of the shares went up by nearly 30% and then shot up another 140% after the public offering today, and it reminds me of the late 90’s when the economy was booming.  I had a hopeful future at a tech startup, everybody was excited, and the nerds slowly began taking over the world.  People who had spent their weekends staring at computer screens in darkened rooms year after year became instant millionaires, and everybody was happy.  The salespeople had something to sell, the populace had something to buy, and the traders had something to trade.

But then the bubble burst and everybody freaked out.  The Wall Street traders slithered into their holes to count their money and the jocks, rednecks, cowboys, and religious nuts took over for a while (see Joe the Plumber), augmented by the fear of Islamic terrorism gripping our country after 9/11.  But quietly, the nerds were working behind the scenes, creating and cultivating business ventures that at first seemed petty and useless; things like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, and all of that nerd work eventually may have paid off.  It may have brought about Tech Bubble 2.0.  Whooohooo!

So what does this mean?  It probably means that I have to figure out my password for LinkedIn.  The LinkedIn IPO has been compared to Google’s IPO in 2004, which turned out to be a pretty good deal.  But it also may signal a return to the old ways on Wall Street – the overvaluation of companies, a mad rush of free spending that bubbles usually entail, and the eventual collapse of that bubble.  So is LinkedIn overvalued?  Some argue that at LinkedIn’s valuation, Apple’s shares would be worth $2.7 trillion and that the fervor generated by the LinkedIn IPO is just the same wishful thinking that got us into trouble in the first place.

Well, even though I’m not looking forward to another bursting bubble, I’m certainly looking forward to the era of growth and free spending that comes before it.  I don’t care if the LinkedIn stock is overvalued.  Bring it on!  Even though we’ll all be spending money we don’t have, we will be having fun while we’re doing it.  I would like to buy my own lawn goose like the one my mom had in the 90’s, made of real concrete that I can put on my porch and dress up in real outfits.

I can’t wait!