I should really hold another yard sale. It’s been a good 20 years since the last one and the old place is brimming again with so many items that SEEMED like wise purchases at the time but, really, were they ever?
And I have to ask myself: how many scalp-singeing curling irons can one person own? Especially when that person already has curly hair and it turns out what she really needed was a scalp-singeing FLAT iron?
And maybe while I’m at it I could get some tips about how to properly use these cattle-proddish tools, the true big guns of the styling realm. The last time I asked at the salon why my hair sometimes smells burned, all three stylists hooted with laughter.“If it smells burned it’s because you’re burning it! Adjust the setting!“ one cried amid all the merriment.
“Wait, there are settings on these things?” was all I could think. It’s like when the repairman comes to fix your washing machine and lifts out some little doodad you never noticed was even in there. “Of course you’re taking this out and cleaning it every time, right?” he says and you nod gravely, wondering all the while how you could have failed to understand more about an appliance you have owned since Back to the Future was the movie of the year.
But to get back to the topic of useless items, why do I have a so-called “air popper” that never did anything but burp forth a listless 20 or 30 scorched corn kernels from its snout before emitting a sharp metallic smell and quitting altogether? Out with the air popper!
Where did I even get these crazy items, or were they gifts? It’s true that some who have come here as extended guests have left behind things, like the thousand-pound set of free weights up in the attic. Sigh.
I remember clearly that yard sale we had back in the 90s. It’s when I finally got rid of all those silky jogging suits done up in swishy pastel fabrics. I remember how it took me weeks to get ready, labeling things as I sorted.
I had a pile marked ‘Scary Bathing Suits’, featuring some of the steel-girded ”full figured” numbers I wore in my Just-Had-Another-Baby stage. I had a richly comic pile consisting of half a dozen hilarious bras and a pair of fanny-padded underpants.
Then I had a pile with dolls of the kind that you buy for your kids in desperate moments, when you’re just leaving for vacation, say. As I cleared a spot for them I gave them nice new names, like ‘Jury Duty Barbie’ and ‘Vasectomy Ken’. And then, God help me, there were all those Nerf toys and Super Soakers with enough power to stun a mastodon.
These last I seem to have somehow re-acquired and I guess that’s okay; younger visitors are thrilled to come upon them.
That thousand-pound weight set though? Even as I write, that thousand-pound weight set is still here, slowly working its way through the splintery attic floorboards, ready to crash through the bedroom ceiling onto our unsuspecting heads.
I live with the danger. In my mind it makes a nice metaphor for life.