I have stuff.
The stuff is everywhere. It grows in closets, shelves, drawers, along bookcases, in the attic, the basement, the utility room. I have books, tax forms, collectibles, old photographs, old phonographs, Rose Canton china, pottery, pictures, magazines, schoolbooks. I have wine bottles, half completed kits of medieval instruments and trains and Wright Brothers’ flyers. While there are no bean bag babies or Barbie dolls or model cars or Coke Cola paraphernalia, there are Hummel figurines (from my mother), old salt shakers, Stieff Rose pattern silver, antique tiles and old decoys. The list goes on and on.
Where did all this stuff come from? I secretly believe that, while I’m sleeping, some stuff copulates with other stuff and produces even more stuff. I have not yet gotten to the point of an extreme hoarder. Not yet. You can enter my house and believe that you have entered the home of a normal person with normal tastes. You do not have to climb over anything to get from one room to another. However, if you hazard the chance to open a drawer or veer into a back room or the space above the garage, then a whole new and abnormal world awaits you.
There are Christmas ornaments, stained glass windows, trebuchets, Chinese roof tiles, Mongolian entry doors (Was I ever in Mongolia?), antique Roman glass and whiskey barrels. I have my notes from college courses. You never know when someone will quiz you on whether or not you really passed that exam in Inorganic Chemistry and, voilà, you produce your college notes to show that, yes indeed, you aced the course. I am prepared to defend myself with supporting documentation against the Internal Revenue Service in case they ever dare to question me about the$2,342 (USD) I made in 1972!
Logic dictates that there is no need for old suitcases whose rollers no longer roll or traveling alarm clocks that run 30 minutes slow every 24 hours. You don’t need a Jolly Rodger flag or one from the last Tsar or the Detroit Yacht Club. On the other hand, who knows when a pirate or a pretender to the throne or the Commodore may appear suddenly at your door and, there you are, with no flag to run up the flag pole, which you also keep.
There is every reason to believe that you need a battering ram (from the Baltimore, Maryland police department, no less), brass knuckles, 18th century scales (from Poland), seven different types of wine bottle openers, Rummer glasses, shark jaws, a blow fish, a cannonball from the shipwreck of the Atocha, sundials, an antique Egyptian eye of Horus, a picture of the Enola Gay, antique easels (to hold antique manuscript pages), an English copper ash sifter, a miniaturized still, Japanese prints, antique embroideries, not to mention a full size Fairbanks grain scale in case you need to measure out two or three hundred pounds of grain.
Oh, to start over again in a simpler life, with nothing more than the clothes you’re wearing, a knapsack and your toothbrush.
Of course, then you need a few reference books (or your kindle), your PC (or your iPad), your cell phone, your HD TV, your home theater, your hiking gear, your scuba equipment, your opera glasses, eating utensils, night vision goggles, snake bite kit, a bazooka, emergency rations …