We live in a world of useless things. Every single person in every single home in America has at least one item sitting on a shelf somewhere as “decoration.” They purchased this item solely for it to sit on a shelf that is somewhat at eye level with the complete intention of no one ever using it under any circumstances for anything. If you don’t believe me, try to dish up a meal on someone’s limited edition Thomas Kinkade collector’s plate sometime.
Yes, we all own a great deal of useless crap. For some reason, though, getting rid of this is nearly impossible. I think that is the inner-hoarder in all of us. We are all just one step away from finding ourselves on A&E weeping over the thought of parting with our collection of 1700 used left shoes.
Inside of a closet in my guest room, you will find all kinds of baseball memorabilia items from my childhood. Now, there is no reason for me to hang onto a Mark McGwire 70 Home Runs Wheaties Box from 1998. The cereal inside that box was eaten many years ago and since the time I got that box, McGwire has retired, denied using steroids in front of congress, admitted to using steroids on national television, and become a hitting coach. Meanwhile, the value of that empty cereal is now at an unbelievable $5.00. That is more than enough for me to buy a new box of Wheaties that actually contains cereal I suppose, though eating the box itself would provide the same flavor and more than twice the fiber.
That is not all that is in that closet. There is a great multitude of things that will likely never see the light of day. Some are childhood mementos that my wife and I think we will want to revisit someday, though it seems that the only times we remember they exist are when we are moving or when we are looking for something we actually need amongst the pile of useless artifacts we have accumulated. Outside of the closet, we have numerous trinkets, doodads, and whatsits that serve no purpose but to demonstrate just how quickly dust accumulates in our apartment
I suppose these useless things are to comfort us. I think that everyone would be very comfortable if they found themselves spending an extended period of time in a room with blank walls and empty shelves. If I went to visit a friend that lived in that sterile of an environment, I would be quickly looking for a way out of there. I don’t know much about serial killers, but I would imagine this is how they live and being a serial killer’s victim seems like a very unpleasant activity.
Plus, if we didn’t have these things on our shelves, where would people look when they were in our apartment? They would have no choice but to stare at our blank walls and, attempting to break the awkward silence that is sure to accompany someone who has wondered into a curio-free zone, they would say things like, “Your walls are a lovely shade of eggshell. Or is that more of an Ivory? Either way, it sure is off-white.”
The inevitable fate of all of this junk is that someday in the very distant future, our children will have to figure out what to do with this stuff when we die. They will look at our useless junk, shake their heads, and begin to divide it up amongst themselves. As it was our stuff, it will have sentimental value, so their house will soon be filled with our useless things until someday in the even more distant future when they die. Then the cycle will continue.
At times, I have thought it would be nice to live like Buddhist monk. I could give up all of this useless stuff and live a clutter-free life with just the bare essentials for survival. I would also have to wear a robe, though, and that seems unpleasant.
Besides, if I were to live like that, what would I do with all of my stuff? I certainly can’t throw it away. You never know when that stuff will come in handy.