“But I need it!”

I have a new catchphrase to make my girlfriend laugh. Whenever she asks me to refrain from something, I petulantly say, “But I need it!”

For example, if she wants me to switch off the air conditioner in our apartment, I adopt a non-negotiable tone and say “But I need it!”.

This probably isn’t funny to anyone else in the world. It only works here because my girlfriend knows me very well as someone who doesn’t need much of anything. The suggestion that I, of all people, need the air conditioning on full-blast is very funny to her because of certain tendencies central to my character:

– I am more inclined to adapt to an environment than to look for ways to neutralise it. To run with the example of air conditioning, I’m likely to ‘sweat it out’ for as long as possible before cranking up the AC. I think this stems from a childhood inability to deal with hot weather and a desire to overcome the problem rather than spend a lifetime complaining about it, seeking pity and pragmatically dealing with it on a day-to-day basis. If you can convince your body to survive in different terrains and climates, you’ll be less dependent upon the absurd levels of comfort to which we have access today, and consequently be more mobile. You won’t say “I can’t” [work in a bakery, read in the hot park, visit Africa] because of the heat. Banish your intolerance to temperatures, weather conditions, heights, pollens, other languages or cultures. Through adaptation, you will be defeated by fewer things.

– I am happy for people to borrow (and even keep) pretty much anything I own. If someone wants to borrow a book, I usually invite them to keep it. It’s better to be generous with such things: doing so eases the burden of ownership on myself, makes a friend happy and increases generosity of mind. Saying “But I need it!” is very alien to my character.

– I wrote an article on ‘escaping dependencies’ in New Escapologist Issue 3. In it, I advise people to kick soft addictions such as coffee or television and offer neuro-linguistic techniques (courtesy of our happiness editor, Neil Scott) to help them achieve this. I’m pretty good at escaping dependencies and very unlikely to say “But I need it!” in relation to the bag of doughnuts my girlfriend invited me to share yesterday.

This post isn’t intended to be an egocentric babble about how great I am and how virtuous my character is. I just wanted to write about the satirical value of “But I need it!” and the prerequisites required if you want to use it yourself.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

5 Responses to ““But I need it!””

  1. Surio says:

    Adopting a tone that robs us of the ‘sense of self-importance’ often diminishes the ‘perceived importance’ of the need/opinion/whatever :-). This is a very good trait that I myself adopt a lot (and I often note that you blighters possess this trait in ample supply ;-)).


  2. Rob says:

    Yeah, it’s a satire!

  3. Neil Scott says:

    If you want to make it really funny, you should say:

    “But I need it. Aside: I don’t really need it.”

  4. Rob says:

    I love AIOTM (AIOTM)! Aside: I don’t, I think it’s shit.

  5. Samara says:

    The fact that it was initially applied to a pool toy helps. How improbable. The arbitrariness of your “needs” contributes to my amusement.

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