“I have to need”


In the hierarchy of reasons to “get”, my youngest son has quickly learned that “need” trumps “want’.

It’s funny to watch him try to chase down the word “want” when it escapes from his lips and replace it with the word “need” before we notice what he’s said.

I think he’s figuring out that the word “need” still doesn’t get him everything he “wants”, but at least it gets him a little bit closer to “getting”.

The other day, he said “I have to need.”


I thought that was a pretty honest and insightful statement for a four-year-old to make.

The more I thought about what he said, the more I thought that was pretty accurate for me, too.

“I have to need”, too.

I can’t stop it.  I can’t turn off “needing”.

Of course, I still want almost everything I see.

I’ll tone it down, say, “Oh, nooooooo…I’m good..right, I’ve got enough…don’t need a thing….but, thanks anyway! Maybe later, though….”

Inside, I’m thinking I should tell the man to make it three scoops when he asks if there will be anything else.

Instead, I’ll tell him that I’d like a small cup.

My cheapness dictates restraint a lot of the time.

“I want, I’d like, I’ll take one of those”…those phrases don’t often escape my lips.  I’m good at self-denial.  On the outside, I can play at being sort of an ascetic. I can play at being a “worldly ascetic”.

But inside, I’m all about the “GIMME”.

So when Nate says, “I have to NEED”…I have to acknowledge that the apple must not fall from the tree.

Me, too, buddy…I couldn’t turn it off if I tried.

With any addiction, it seems like the first step towards recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem.

So, I’ll say it here first.

“Hello, my name is Peter.  I have to need.”

“I need to get rid of my addiction to needing.”

Dang…I can’t escape it.  I need to figure out a way to get out of this cycle.

Dang.  Did I need to say that? I need to watch what I say.

Nobody needs more of that in the world.

Like Nate has learned to cloak his avarice in more politically correct terms, I can mask what I’m really driving at by changing the way I express myself.

I’d appreciate it if you’d humor me for a moment.

I’d appreciate it if you’d do that.

See what I just did?  I never said “need” once.  I changed it to “appreciate”.

I’d “appreciate” a bigger hamburger.

I’d “appreciate” three scoops of ice cream.

It masks my greed a little bit.  No one can tell that I’m in full on “GIMME MODE” when I say, “Why yes, I do believe I’d appreciate some more of that…”.

I don’t know, really.

Greed is ever-present.  At least it’s ever-present in my heart.  I can’t get away from it.

I can learn to mask it with humility….sometimes real, a lot of times learned and faked…but I’ve usually got a pretty extreme case of the “gimmes” churning up the blackest regions of my soul.

I love and appreciate a simple life.  A simple life can be a lot less complicated.  Simple can be easy.

But…on the other hand…”I have to need”.

What can I say?  I HAVE TO NEED.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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