Granite Counter-tops — Punch In The Face

February 22, 2009

Granite counter-tops. The ultimate symbol of GEN X’s obsession with materialism and our need to look good even if we don’t feel good.  Hey, I got ’em, and they make me feel great.  That’s right:  they look good and they treat me even better.  They shine and wink at me when I walk by.  They tuck me into bed at night.  They tell me all sorts of crazy stories about the time they spent in Central America.  But, secretly, I hate them because I need them:

ME:  I can’t be a selfish, soulless loser.  I’ve got granite in my kitchen, dammit.   

GRANITE COUNTER-TOPS [gleaming in the sunlight]:  You got that straight, brotha. 

Don’t get me wrong — I’d love to be able to blame our collective  obsession with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and wide-plank hardwood floors on Flip This House, Flip That House, Flip Their Houses, Flip Run’s House, etc.  But I can’t.  I can only blame the obsession on our over-inflated ego’s and collective sense of entitlement.  Need proof?  Watch any of the shows mentioned above (I’m not sure when Flip Run’s House actually airs . . . I think sometime after Making the Band and before Brett Michaels Picks A Skank — check your local listings for exact dates and times) or their progeny:  Moving Up, Property Virgins, House Hunters, House Hunters Int’l, etc., and you’ll invariably see the following scene:

NARRATOR:  Chelsea is a 31 year-old social worker and her boyfriend Brandon sells sunglasses at a kiosk in the mall.  They’ve been searching for the perfect home for them to share and their tastes are very specific:  Brandon needs a 1,500 square foot theater room. . .

BRANDON:  I need some space where me and my boys can chill.

NARRATOR:  . . . and Chelsea requires a chef’s kitchen with glowing granite countertops, heated floors, oak cabinetry, and two chef’s ovens . . .

CHELSEA:  I’d really like to get into cooking someday.

NARRATOR:  . . . but, so far, they are very disappointed in the properties that are in their price range.  Let’s see how they react when they visit this modest 2-bedroom ranch in their price range.


Well, we can’t blame Chels and Brandon for having high standards, can we?  After all, their collective income is just above the poverty level, so they deserve to live like a cross between Russell Simmons (before he split up with Kimora) and Martha Stewart, right?  Not quite.  Before jumping on the Chels and Brandon rationalization train, think about this: what did our parents do when they were faced with the same situation (i.e., buying a starter home within their budget)?  They bought it, moved in, got out the Fantastik spray, cleaned off the older counter-tops and — gasp — put their stuff down on it.  That’s right — they lived with it. So, when you’re applying for a $50,000 home equity line of credit to update your kitchen, ask the age-old question Gen X never seems to ask ourselves:  Do I really need it?

Answer that question for yourselves, kids.  And, as always, do as I say, not as I do — I gotta get back to wiping down my beautiful granite counter-tops.  In fact, as I look at my reflection in the granite right now, I can hear them saying something to me. 

ME [leaning over the granite, listening — searching — for the wise message]:  What?  What are you saying to me?

COUNTER-TOPS [To me, in a loving hush]:  You’re a winner.



  1. 35 is driving me nuts… all i have left is 36, 37 … etc. Your blog is a great way to understand that others are facing similar conflicts. Why am I focused on bolstering others’ perceptions of my success when really I am perfectly comfortable in my ’02 Nissan Sentra a home with rolled linoleum and unfinished projects. Yet, I want to project my inner feeling of successful accomplishments in some way that all will appreciate… not just me or the few that appreciate what I’ve done in my specialty…

    Great site Chris… I will definitely come back!

  2. Hey Matt:

    Thanks for checking out my blog — and thanks for the great comment. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one feeling the slide into (yikes) middle age. Thanks again — and please feel free to check back for updates.

  3. […] Face” and Chris has a way of showing the truly miserable side of everything from vacations to granite countertops. Check it […]

  4. disaffected xers must think alike. i have a total aversion to granite countertops. if one.more.person tells me they’re gettin granite countertops, i’m going to be respond with, “Well then. All your problems are solved.”


  5. That’s great — “well then, all your problems are solved” . . . I keep wishing it was that easy. Thanks for checking out my blog, and thanks for the great feedback.

  6. Just got my granite c-tops installed today…the minute I walked in the door they winked, it was true love……

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