A Pot of Gold At the End of the Rainbow?
A question posed by many Neopians is; "Why do we bother painting our pets colours?" Our pets are just as happy being red, yellow, blue or green as if they were a disco, Maraquan or invisible, is a claim made by many. So what is the reasoning behind spending our hard-earned neopoints on something so trivial as a colour?
Many feel that the painting of their pets reflect them as owners - if their pet is an original, sought-after colour, then they are a successful owner, and their neopets must be the best looked after in all Neopia. But is that true? Do your pets go hungry because you are too busy saving to feed them? Or are you just broke after buying that multimillion-neopoint faerie paintbrush from the Hidden Tower?
Another reason is the massive sense of achievement painting a pet brings. I myself once saved for over a year to paint a Gnorbu cloud - and I felt so immensely proud of myself once he was done. And yes, my pet was happy. And yes, I felt good that I had been able to muster up enough self-discipline not to just go running to the bakery and fill up on cakes. But my other pets suffered. I was so busy running around, trying to please one, that they had, I'll admit, been forgotten slightly. I felt so guilty afterward, that I booked the whole lot of them into the NeoLodge, and I was living on ten neopoints a week for months afterwards.
Furthermore, I cannot describe my frustration when my sister managed to adopt a cloud Gnorbu just weeks later. Don't get me wrong - I believe that adopting a homeless pet is one of the greatest things a Neopian owner can do, but I was so mad. There I was, still financially recovering from buying a two hundred thousand points paint brush, and she had gone and picked an identical pet up like he was an egg dish from the giant omelette. You may be thinking; "Two hundred thousand? That's nothing!!" But as a Neopian who doesn't dabble in the stock market or gamble on Poogles too often, it took me ages to save up using old fashioned gaming.
Neopians break their backs to paint their Skeith Darigan, only for Boochi to pay a visit, and where their ferocious, man-eating pet used to be, lies an adorable baby with a bow around his neck. Now if one point four million neopoints worth of colour can be zapped away so instantly and carelessly, I'd rather not take the risk. I would be heartbroken to know that all my effort had been for, let's face it, nothing.
In the pound, pets that are blue are overlooked in favour of a fire one, and owners spend hours trawling through endless lists of “normal” pets to find that special one, who they somehow feel is more worthy of their love. I just can’t understand how people can justify themselves in thinking that just because a pet is painted that they deserve a chance more than another. I believe that the craze with wanting your pet to be such a fantastic colour has gone too far – it has reached a point where Neopians don’t care where they got the pet from, as long as, on the Neoboards, they can show off that they have that Faerie Zafara everybody is so jealous of.
I’d be willing to bet my (admittedly not large) bank account that under a quarter of owners with four painted pets earned each and every one of them – created them, or adopted them when they were an original colour, and then worked as hard as they could to buy that paintbrush they wanted. Many pets who are just “acquired” from the pound often end up right back where they started, because although they may be a pea Chia and, let's face it, a pretty cool pet, it’s hard to find a link with a pet who you haven’t created or worked hard to paint – so they’ll either end up rotting away on a side account, all alone, or staring Dr. Death in the face once more.
Paintbrushes are becoming so expensive these days that the regular Neopian on the street is struggling to keep up – who can earn 1,500,000 by playing Usuki Frenzy? There are people who remember the “good old days” when even the most sought-after paint brushes averaged at under 100k, but the trend has swept Neopia and people have gone rainbow-crazy. Even our petpets must be painted, to make our pets happy and proud of their friends. So does that mean we work so hard to make ourselves so happy and proud of our pets? Do we strive for so long because we feel we cannot possibly be proud of a green Yurble?
I feel as though I am judged for being a Neopian citizen whose pets aren’t painted – people visit my lookup and automatically assume I’m a “newbie” or that I’m not that devoted to my pets. Well I’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight – I love my pets, and they are always happy, well fed and loved – regardless of their colour.
Finally, although I can sit here and moan about the ridiculous nature of paint brushes until the Kaus come home, I still did it. And I probably will do it again. I'm saving my neopoints once more, and for what? I have no idea. But it is likely in a few months time my Kacheek or Bori will no longer be what they are now. Or maybe my "plain old" Kau or "boring" Usul will be not so boring. And I will continue to strive to paint my pets in an attempt to answer my question posed at the start - is it worth it? Maybe I'm looking for what it appears so many of you have found - the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, because right now – I just can’t see it.
This is my first submission, so any constructive criticism would be gladly accepted!!