Let’s take a field trip to Webster.com

The front page of the Star Tribune’s business + money section ran a story today about an upswing in the home remodeling market. The article featured a couple who refrained from replacing their Pottery Barn pool cabana that had been damaged in a storm a few years ago, but now–after living cabana-less all these desolate months–they’re ready to buy. The new cabana will cost $15K and include a TV, mini-fridge, bar stools, and an automated misting device. Up to this point, I’m thinking: Great. Lovely. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to have a little palapa paradise in your own backyard? Then the homeowner is quoted as saying, “We absolutely needed to do a permanent cabana.”

Whoa, Diamond Joe. Absolutely needed? You absolutely need air, water, food, and a temperate climate or weather-proof shelter. This is the entire list of absolute needs. If you want to bend the definition a bit, I think we can find better examples in today’s paper. The 135 people trapped under an avalanche in Pakistan? If they’re still alive, they might need their local troops to dig a little faster. In this upcoming round of negotiations, Iran might need to shut down that nuclear facility under the mountain if they ever want those sanctions lifted. And Dan Risland, whose sailboat capsized on Friday in Clearwater Lake, killing two of his children in the icy waters, might need his third son to pull through the critical grade hypothermia, to give him a reason to keep living.

Cabana man, I think you’ve been in the sun a little too long.