Dear stuff:
Can we talk? I don’t know what to do with you anymore. Now that I’m in downsizing mode, you’re all I think about. Morning, noon and night. What the dumpster am I going to do with you? You would think I would be obsessed with politics or global warming or Duchess Kate’s third pregnancy, but no, I am obsessed with you. As the late Glen Campbell crooned, “You’re always on my mind.”
I’ve tried to give you away, but nobody seems to want you, not even my beloved offspring. Go figure. Here I’ve got a treasure trove of relics from days gone by — Gumby and Pokey, a groovy hippie skirt made from old jeans, a mirror disco ball, a cuckoo clock from the Black Forest, a coconut monkey head collection — and they shrug indifference at the offerings. “We don’t have room for it in our tiny apartments,” they whimper. Yeah? Well, me neither now that I’m downsizing.
But here’s the rub, stuff. I can’t seem to call it quits with you. I keep thinking, “Someday someone will wish you were around. They may not want you now, but they will sorely want you later.”
Son: “Hey, whatever happened to mom’s coconut monkey heads from all her Caribbean trips?”
Daughter: “Geez, I don’t know, but I sure hope she kept them. They were funny and so mom!”
Son: “And how about that cuckoo clock? Didn’t she get that when she was traveling through Europe during college?”
Daughter: “Yeah, that clock was sweet, must be worth something now. I bet she never even asked us if we wanted it. You know how practical she got in her old age.”
Stuff, you also keep me up at night, because you mysteriously keep multiplying, despite my effort to get rid of you. What’s the deal? Are you breeding with abandon during the wee hours, perhaps even crossbreeding? I mean, how did I end up with a drawer full of votives? I don’t recall buying votives. And what’s with all the dishtowels? I’m a ratty-dishtowel kind of gal, but you’d never know it from all the nice dishtowels jammed in my drawers.
You know what else is a real conundrum about you, stuff? I get blamed for all of you. All of you! Even though I am part of a family unit, it seems that all the kids’ stuff is also all my stuff, which, at the end of the day, makes me look like a stuff-a-holic. Frankly, I don’t like or deserve that label. A stuff-sentimentalist, yes; a stuff-a-holic, no.
You know I’ve got a soft spot for you, stuff, and I could never tell you to just, you know, stuff it. What should we do? Should I secretly put you up in some storage space and find a way to cover costs on the sly? Is that what other downsizers do? I’ll bet so. Heh, heh. I knew we’d find a way to stay together, stuff.
Forever yours, Anne.
Anne Palumbo writes this column for Messenger Post newspapers. Her email is