Ignorance is Bliss

Whenever I’m offered a piece chocolate cake I politely turn it down, which leads to a casual inquisition why. There is always somebody around who finds in unfathomable that I would refuse a piece of delicious chocolate cake. What could be my excuse?! chocolate-cakeDon runs marathons constantly, so he can’t be on a diet or anything like that, right?

The Nosey Nancy is correct that I’m not on a diet. I just don’t like chocolate cake. The reason is I was allergic to chocolate as a child. The allergy went away as I grew older, so it’s not like I’ll break into hives if I eat a Hershey’s Kiss. I’ll occasionally have a candy bar now that I’m an adult, but I never got into chocolate cake. As mentioned before, I just don’t like it.

This answer is NOT acceptable to the inquisitor. Her reaction goes from curiosity and disgust to terror and sympathy. “OhMyGod!! That’s horrible! I’m SOOOOO sorry for you!”

I’m not sorry. I don’t feel bad at about it at all. What I’m missing? Chocolate cake is not just one of life’s little pleasures. It’s Big Food and Big Sugar, and a big contributor to our health epidemic over the last generation. From my perspective, chocolate cake is a gateway drug into obesity.

Do I really want to have another thing to compulsively crave and be tempted by at every birthday, anniversary, and Get Well Soon party? Let me think about that for a moment. Umm…NO! Without my allergy I would just be another slave to cocoa bean, which would eventually devolve into using Bosco as my bank password. george-boscoThanks, but no thanks. Sometimes you really are just better off not knowing what you’re missing out on. Ignorance is bliss.

Willful blindness is contrary to my previously held beliefs. I long assumed being informed was better because you knew where you stood. I realized that might not hold true while I was selling my old condo last year.

I bought that stupid condo back in 2006. (Perfect timing, right?) I knew selling it wasn’t going to be pretty, but I had to. I was living 1,700 miles away and my current tenant was moving out. So I put the place on the market. My real estate agent (and friend) helped me figure out the asking price and also the price I would actually sell it for. The latter was intuitively calculated on the back of an envelope. I thought that number was a moderate profit on my real estate investment.

Fast-forward two months and there were no offers to buy or even to rent. (We figured I could I could always rent the condo for another year in a pinch.) I had a vacant condo and was literally paying for two places to live when I only needed one. I was in a complete panic and near full on meltdown mode.

Miraculously I got an offer to buy the place. It was well below my walk away price, but it was possible we could negotiate with the buyer to get it up to (or very close) to what I originally would accept.

Meanwhile, I decided I should crunch the numbers to see how much lower I was willing to go since I was in such pinch now. It wasn’t pretty. money-pitMy intuitive walk away price didn’t include a bunch of subtle “cost of ownership” expenses I previously forgot about. My “acceptable” profit for owning a condo for 9 years was fiction. My old walk away price was actually a breakeven point. AND I would be lucky to even get that.

Somehow I did get my original selling price (it must have been from divine intervention). Even so, I still felt like a loser who just realized he was conned. I was livid! So much so that I wrote an article warning aspiring condo owners that this wasn’t the guaranteed dream they expect it to be. Writing that article was cathartic, but I still wish I hadn’t reached for my spreadsheet. I would have been off not knowing.

Ignorance really can be bliss. You can’t miss what you never had (or realized what you didn’t have all along).

Thanks for reading.

Don

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