My utility company has been sending me free compact fluorescent light bulbs in the mail on a quarterly basis. I “opted-in” to the program via a postcard that came with my electric bill a couple of years ago. I'm a thrifty individual (my wife would say “cheap”) so the promise of something for nothing really appealed to my inner Scotsman. Throw in the prospect of a lower light bill and the added benefit to the environment, and it became hard to find a reason not to sign up.
There's only one problem. I absolutely hate these things. I mean, I'm paid to know the difference between “good” and “bad” color and it is my professional opinion that these bulbs throw off the worst color imaginable. The oozing yellow light is simply putrid. Skin takes on a corpse-like pall, glass does not sparkle, and I have a seriously hard time telling the difference between blue and brown socks under these bulbs. In fact, the only thing right about these babies is the price.
But I still use them. They're in my basement and they're in my attic, they're in all of my closets and they're everywhere else where seeing something in a bad light is better than seeing nothing at all. I keep my Dad stocked up because, other than being as cheap as I am, he can't tell the difference between blue and brown socks even under the best of light. I bring them to work because every dime we save here is a dime that goes into someone's paycheck, maybe mine.
Life is like that. What we get is not always ideal. Sometimes we rip through the shiny Christmas paper and find a three-pack of tighty-whiteys. Or maybe God only saw fit to bestow upon us the single gift of cracking walnuts with our biceps. It doesn't matter. We got something. And when we get something for nothing, the only sin is in squandering it.
Even though they're free, ugly, and don't work with any of the umpteen dimmers in my house, I'm sure as heck not going to waste these bulbs. Au contraire mon frere, I'm downright grateful for these ugly, contemptible death-glow coils of luminous misery. I'm using free bulbs to light the otherwise-dark corners of my house and I'm saving money on my light bill by doing it. Surely, there's no sin in that.
So, Merry Christmas, everyone. Remember to be thankful for what you get. Matching socks are overrated anyway.