Monday, July 25, 2005

Cluttah Bug

I opened up the door to my hall closet the other day, and a milk crate fell on my head. Not a full sized milk crate thankfully, but one of those mini ones used for... well, I'm not sure. In my case, it was used to store old A/V wires, floppy disks, wireless cards and other computer oriented junk which I never use but decided to store anyway - provided, of course, that the items were large enough not to fall through the holes on the side of the crate (which hardly mattered anyway, as they all spilled out when the crate made contact with my skull.) All hail run-on sentences.

For a moment, I was stunned. I just sort of stared into the closet, mouth agape, and wondered where exactly the closet elf, who had clearly pushed the crate onto my head as a cruel joke, had hidden. Then the throb started in, and I started muttering all sorts of expletives while picking up the crate's scattered contents. Clearly, I had too much shit stored in the closet, and clearly whoever said "A clean home makes for a clean mind" was fucking-A right.

I'd like to say this is the first time this has happened to me, but alas, this sort of thing happens all the time. Unfortunately (or thankfully), it took a wallop on the head to make me start thinking, "Hey, you know what? I'm a packrat." At first glance, it's rather hard to tell because I keep all the stuff in plain view fairly neat. But, hidden away in closets and corners is just tons of old "stuff" which I can't really explain why I keep.

Here - a sample of the inventory along with the best explanation I could come up with for keeping each item (by no means a complete list):

Hall Closet
  • The previously mentioned milk crate: Explanation already provided
  • Two Beach Towels: Kept in the closet because I don't have enough room in my towel drawer in my bedroom dresser. I've yet to use these towels since moving into this apartment.
  • Condom Hat: A rubber (no pun intended) hat shaped like the reservoir tip of a condom. I have used this hat for my Halloween costume the past two years (another story, another time - but the costume was a hit even though some people mistakenly thought I was dressed as a baby's bottle.) It was this that the milk crate had originally been sitting on top of, and the reason why I now have a lump on my head. The milk crate was pushed off the shelf once its contents shifted slightly, thus allowing the condom hat to um.... spring up.
  • 13" Broken Computer Monitor (stolen from work): A useless monitor (seriously - worth nothing) that was sitting in storage at work and which I let a friend borrow when his monitor died. On his way to return it to me, he dropped it while transporting it to the car. Now, it too is broken, but he has a nice flat screen monitor which he bought upon breaking mine (er... my employers.) It is still in the closet because I don't know what to do with it. You can't throw them out and I don't know anywhere I can bring it to be recycled.
  • My laundry basket (used frequently, thank you)
  • All my fall and winter jackets: Because it gets damn cold in New England.

Under my bed
  • Cassette Tapes (Case of 100 and plastic bag filled with singles, mixes, and dubs): I can't bear to part with them - even though I have no cassette decks hooked up anymore. You all know how much of a music freak I am. There are some gems in here - among them Young M.C., Stray Cats, Flesh For Lulu (yes Eleanor, I know that one is actually yours) and Arrested Development.
  • Boston Herald and Boston Globe from Thursday October 28, 2004: One headline reads "Top Of The World!" The other, simply "YES!!" With it is the 2004 Boston Red Sox Official Yearbook. 'Nuff said. These will be worth money some day - but even more in sentimental value. Oh - why are they under the bed? Because I once read the best way to store old newspapers is laid flat and in the dark so they don't get yellow and the acid doesn't collect in the folds and disintegrate the paper. Unfortunately, however it looks as though they're curling up.
  • Mouse turds: Helloooooooo Mr. Mouse!!! Howdy doo?
Everywhere Else
  • Books and CD's: Lining every available shelf space in my bedroom. Many of the books are old and should just go.. but still, I hang on.... I hang on....
How did I get like this? I blame television. When I was 10 or so there used to be a show on T.V. called 'Amazing Stories.' It was sort of a modern day 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents" but much, much worse. In fact, it pretty well sucked. I do remember one episode though in which a little boy is told by a leprechaun, "Kid! Save everything!" He did. The rest of the episode pretty much shows him getting teased throughout his life until the very end, when he's 90 and auctioning off everything he's saved and thus, making a fortune and living happily every after, blah, blah, blah.. Whatever - I bought into it, and the idea has only been reinforced further by seeing all these stupid antique shows now popping up all over in which some rednecks bring in a chipped mug for expert appraisal and find out it's worth a cool million.

So, where's my dough? Well, I have to wait for the items to accumulate in value, you see. I'm only 30 years old. That's not nearly enough time for anything I own to be considered antique. But, just you wait -50 years from now people will say, "Flesh For Lulu?!? On cassette? Dear God........ how much, man, HOW MUCH???"

Still, there's another show on television. This one is called "The Life Laundry" and shows some crackpot "clutter expert" going to people's homes and helping them rid their lives of their hoard. These are extreme cases and the "clients" are often total fruit loops, but the way the show portrays it, their clutter collection is often the result of a deep psychological trauma. About two thirds of the way through every episode, almost without fail, the client falls sobbing into the expert's arms and starts uttering nonsense like, "I miss him sooo much" (usually referring to the family dog), or "It's so hard to let go....." I always avert my eyes at such unpleasantness, but you can't argue with the results. In most cases, the clients stop their cluttering ways and move on with their lives. So..... where do I sign up? I'm ready! I can picture it now. The host calmly asks me, "Can you let it go?" whereupon I look with watering eyes into the camera and say, "I got hit in the head with a milk crate....."


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