Metro-East News

The difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’

You want chocolate chip cookies, but you need to read this column first.
You want chocolate chip cookies, but you need to read this column first.

For me, here’s the difference between need and want.

Need is defined as requiring something that is essential or important. I need air. I need to eat. I need water.

Want is a desire to have something but not necessarily something you need. You need to eat healthy. You want chocolate.

I needed to write this column but I wanted chocolate chip cookies.

So guess which one got done first?

So many needs. For example, I need some clarity.

Nine weeks ago I had surgery on my spine. Since then, I have received a bunch of papers explaining my benefits and what various insurance companies have paid. It would appear that the average payment is about two cents on the dollar, if I’m reading them correctly, which I doubt.

But no one has told me what I actually owe. Probably a lot but I am lucky in that I will be able to pay it. It might take all my savings, but I can pay.

Usually when I go to auctions I see things I want, but don’t really need. Last week, though, I needed a vacuum cleaner since we now have an area rug on the refinished dining room floor. I need the cleaning machine to pick up the amazing amount of animal hair the rug collects from the animals I really don’t need.

The used vacuum cleaner was packaged with an electric broom, perhaps the most unneeded appliance since the juicer or the electric sandwich maker. I certainly didn’t need it.

But I found that I did need a new bag for the old vacuum cleaner. A large discount retailer I visited had few bags because modern vacuums don’t even use them. They’re not needed.

Luckily another store had an entire aisle of bags. So my used vacuum will roar on.

Looking at the rug in a shaft of sunlight coming through the window, I see that I need to use that vacuum right now. But my wife tells me I need to water the flowers out front first because they look droopy.

I need a break. I need a vacation. I need a gimmick.

I have a need for speed. No, I don’t, actually. Speed scares me. All I could think of while riding around Gateway Motorsports Park a few years ago in an Indy car during a media event was what if this thing crashes. I’ll never get all those buckles and straps undone in time to get out if I’m still alive.

I want to live.

Sometimes you want to know but the people who know tell you that you don’t have a need to know. Classified information is usually on a need-to-know basis, unless it is in the White House and then it seems it is on a leaked basis.

I need to get this column finished. I don’t particularly want to do the work it takes, but I need to get paid. There you have that difference again.

Need should always win out over want, although it often is a close race.