Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Pack Rat's Redemption

I've been accused by two women in my life of being a pack rat. One is my mother, and the other is my wife. For the former, it takes one to know one. She embraced my keeping whatever I wanted. The latter loathes all things clutter, and my efforts to stay one step ahead of her purge plans are analogous to the efforts of Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can.

I will admit to holding on to a few choice collectibles...and other stuff.

Most of my treasured mementos are tucked away in boxes in our attic, crawlspace or desk drawers. However, I'm not a candidate for Hoarders...yet.

For me, the biggest challenge of keeping stuff though is remembering where I put it. The challenge is getting tougher with age and the accumulation of more stuff. Over the last couple of weeks, I found an envelope of NASCAR-related patches collected as a kid. Suddenly I had a blog idea for Volunteer State Bench Racing. Scan the patches as images, and share them in a blog entry. Only one problem - I couldn't find at least 2 or 3 patches I knew I still had. Nights at home the last week or so have frustrated me because I simply could not find THE envelope with the remaining patches.

Tonight I had an a-ha moment. The attic! I hadn't checked the attic. Inside the second copy-paper box I opened was a shoebox. Off came the lid - and there were the patches! But what is this? More?

Here are a few other items I found tucked away.
  • Ticket stubs for a Jacksonville Bulls USFL football game, a Milwaukee Brewers game at the old Milwaukee County Stadium, an Atlanta Braves game at the old Fulton County Stadium
  • Ticket stubs for concerts by The Connells, R.E.M., Guadalcanal Diary with Treat Her Right and comedian Bob Goldthwait
  • An "I Love Kmart" button - boy, that one is clearly obsolete
  • Several buttons I conned waitresses into giving me. Was I that charming or just that annoying? Wait - don't answer that.
  • A handwritten set list from the stage of a Fetchin Bones concert - with black duct tape still on each end
  • A box of dominoes
  • A set of clicker-clackers. Forget the cries of Halo and Grand Theft Auto video games being harmful to kids. Clicker-clackers had the potential to be a true killer - that and lawn darts.
  • Two books of Lincoln pennies from early 1900s through mid 1970s with only a few missing years. I've got wheat and Lincoln Memorial versions as well as a couple of steel pennies made during World War II. My grandfather gave me the majority of them in an effort to have us share a hobby. I think he contributed 1909 to 1972 with my pitching in 1973-1977.
  • A flowcharting template. I showed this one to my son who responded with a three-letter, monotone, drawn out, stunned word: Wwwowww. Yes folks - process mapping existed before Office clipart and Visio.
  • Two baseballs
  • Three snare drum instructional and solo books
  • My high school class ring and diploma
  • An ACE bandage
  • A memo from the office administrator of my first professional employer
  • A parody memo prepared by co-workers and me mocking said office administrator
All of this may sound like junk to you. But to a pack rat like me, re-discovering all this stuff was like the comfortable feeling of napping in a hammock on a nice, warm day.

Now dang it, where did I store that Kansas Dust In The Wind 8-Track?


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