in Personal, UnEncumbered Life

Fat Around The Heart

As long as I can remember I’ve had a condition that I think of as the “collector compulsion” – basically a tendency to hoard or collect items that interest me. I still can’t bear to let go of a book, even though I’ve read it and probably won’t again for quite some time. It plays I think it to childhood fantasies of owning a vast library in which I can lounge my time away, lost in reading.

It extended from there to the normal boyhood obsessions of sports cards and comic books and then beyond to music, then various other artsy knick-knacks. I streamlined things to more specific obsessions: only Miami Dolphins cards, only Batman or The Shadow comics, etc.

I don’t mention any of this because I think of it as unusual or special, as I’m sure most of us go through these phases or remain under the sway of such compulsions. We derive an unspoken pleasure and sense of purpose or completeness from collecting, whether it be Hummel figurines or sports cars. What nags at me, however, is the illusion of it all….the attachment that has made these items emotionally important to me, like some sort of nostalgia addiction I can’t break.

Which brings me to the purpose here…

I have heard a couple of times about projects, ostensibly artsy comments on the nature of possessions or some hooey like that, in which people sell off every item they own – even including their time or the dust bunnies under their bed. The idea always appealed to me as a way to peel back the ‘fat from the heart’ as some might say, that comes from the basic American materialistic lifestyle. As I grow more anti-consumerist and even more of a crackpot old man, nearly revolted by the assault of advertising that demands I buy buy buy a sense of peace that I already own, kicking my habit seems like a wonderful idea. And offering it for sale to others while also urging them to consume less pleases the ironist in me to no end…

Complications arise because I am not a single young man living in a small apartment somewhere, free to assume a monastic lifestyle. I’m married, have two young children, and my possessions are therefore not solely my own. There are some items my wife has no interest in (a ‘shout out’ to the complete 1986 Topps football card set), but if I try to auction off the table lamp there will be some problems. And it seems a shame to unload comic books that our superhero-centric boys might enjoy a couple of years. So some compromises must be made that will prevent this from becoming an artistically and intellectually pure ideal.

I have begun cataloging the detritus of what I once held dear, and will begin offering as much as I can on a certain internationally popular auction site and hopefully here on this website, provided I can get some sort of simple shopping cart system up and running. Along with the CDs, movies, books, magazines, computer components, household items, and miscellany I’ll also finally begin listing some of the paintings and sketches this site was originally intended to promote.

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