I am a saver. On the border of a hoarder, but still safely on the saver side. Regardless, it’s clear some culling needs to be done. It’s best to have someone stern and unattached help you with this project because there’s nothing more clarifying than having that somebody snatch the third identical teapot from your gooey grip and slap you upside the head.
But I collect them! I complain.
Try collecting common sense. You’re giving them away, says the indifferent voice dishing sage advice.
Harsh, but true. And harsh is what’s needed when trying to part with things you’ve imprinted memories and value onto. Every morning, as I rummage around in my drawer for something to wear, I lay eyes on my “Polish Princess” t-shirt from eighth grade. I remember wearing that top to school as a thirteen-year old, catching the eye of my science teacher whose ancestry was Bohemian, and starting a two year Slavic supremacy war with the man—each of us determined to ethnically best one another. I therefore became wholly determined to prove my people’s intellectual preeminence and studied like a madman. Without that shirt I would likely never have received such stellar grades in his class. That shirt was a foundation of who I was. How could I give it away?
Then wear it, I hear my unsympathetic cleansing cohort say.
What, are you kidding? It’s so tacky. Never.
There are other things. Like one rolodex card holder and four old address books all clinging to the whereabouts of people from my past. My brain has rationally argued that it is wholly likely most of these folks have moved at least two or three times since we originally exchanged info twenty or thirty years ago. True, it might be filled with outdated home and telephone data, but my childhood dentist PROMISED he would be here for me if anything should go wrong with that thirty-five year old filling and I needed to come back to see him.
It may require the assistance of a séance, but I bet he wouldn’t be the slightest bit miffed to rise for the occasion. Dr. Fenske was dedicated soul. Or maybe is a dedicated soul.
And how about the big tubs that hold my high school homework, exams and term papers? Or the shoeboxes full of Valentine’s Day cards I received while in my elementary years? Plus the hundreds of blurry photos my kids took from their first disposable cameras? Is the Voldemort of fun expecting me to shuffle those off into the recycling heap?
We form piles: Giveaway. Sell. Burn. Keep.
The giveaway mound is mammoth and growing, as if it’s being fed by some underwater vitamin filled stream.
The sell stack is so beautiful, all shiny and new and incredibly useful—surely we can keep just this—ow! Fine, fine, I’ll put it back! The burn heap could be fun if we had marshmallows and hot dogs. And invited the local fire department to keep it under control. But the keep pile? These items are deemed useful. Not sexy or chic, charming or covetable. Just useful. They feed you, clothe you, bathe you or rest you. They are practical objects with nearly no maudlin attachments.
I glower and envision putting my assistant onto the burn pile.
And then there is the no one needs to know about this pile pile. And fairly soon this secret mass has swollen to the dimensions of a mid-sized village and somebody is growing suspicious as to my frequent sojourns down the hallway with the sudden admittance to owning an M&M sized bladder. But it seems my years of developing the fine skills of thriftiness might have benefited from a few minutes spent practicing the art of deception. I am found out.
Take a picture, the old grump insists.
And how does one take pictures of eighteen years worth of Food & Wine cooking magazines, huh? I NEED those magazines because one day I may NEED to make a dish of reindeer jerky drizzled with seaweed syrup lying atop a bed of Isle of Skye moss covered with a sprinkling of powdered blowfish fins. Then where do I go?
To a psychiatrist.
The old grouch must go, but she stays firm. One hundred percent cruel and uncaring. Her rule for my future is thus: if you cannot read it, eat it, or drink it—do not buy it.
I point out to her that technically my nearly two decades’ worth of Food & Wine fall under all three categories. She points out to me that technically I should be on medication.
It is a long and grueling week of cleansing, hours upon hours of arguments, tug of wars, and failed smuggling. But I am glad of it in the end. It was worth all the angst and effort.
The front hall coat closet looks amazing.
September Gotta Have a Gott
In January, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. See the cartoons in competition and to cast your vote.
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.