Worthless Things of Worth
Downsizing is the closest I’ll probably ever come to an archaeological dig. In the process of cleaning out my garage, I’ve unearthed many things — some of which I may actually not have seen for a century. It’s strange to think that these things have been there all along, in boxes, being held on to but untouched to the point of escaping all recollection — and I have a pretty good recollection, I might add.
If one is lucky, the things one has held on to will become valuable beyond one’s own use and/or sentimental attachment; they will become vintage or antique items that command a decent amount of cash. Or even an indecent amount. Just some amount would be good, actually. But for most things, worth literally escapes as soon as one cracks the spine of a book, for example, and the pages take their first breath — which, incidentally, is one breath closer to their own degradation and a Dumpster-esque grave.
Lots of things bug me (as you really should know by now), but few things are actually as sad to me — at least when it comes to inanimate objects — as items that really do have worth, but have been rendered somehow worthless by decay, obsolescence, or some other tragic, time-induced occurrence.
Take the set of encyclopedias I have, for example. No one can say information is worthless — and if these books have anything, it’s tons of that. Yet no one buys encyclopedias anymore; there are decent and free sources of information online, even for those who (reasonably so) have little respect for Wikipedia. Shoot, no one even uses encyclopedias anymore — myself included, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been in a box I’d forgotten the contents of.
Then there are the ceramic birthday dolls I received every year to age 21, which, sadly, no grown woman — especially one living with another human being — could display with any amount of self-respect. Not that that’s really the issue, since my level of self-respect is founded more upon how much chocolate I’m able to consume in a day; it’s just that I’ve grown out of this phase of life. (For the record, I may still at some point re-display my She-Ra collection, just for S’s and G’s, but that’s different.) Still, these porcelain belles might be nice to pass on to my daughter one by one as she experiences each consecutive year of life — well, except for that whole issue of not having a daughter, son, or any kids to speak of in the first place, since I’m not into the whole kids thing in general.
If I was smart, I wouldn’t care about this in the first place. I would take this actually rather Zen-like opportunity to release my attachment to things to, well, release my attachment to things. But that isn’t happening, as I have this problem of clinging to the belief that all things have some value that should be recognized by — I don’t know — someone or something.
This being the case, the solution that first springs to mind is to have a garage sale and see what happens. Maybe — hope of hopes — someone else will have a real use for these things! Thing is, though, I highly suspect I already know exactly what will happen instead: namely, I will only be able to get money for functional items, like furniture, which I’m not even selling, thereby making the entire effort a waste of my time (which I’m calculating at an overtime pay rate, given that I’d have to do this on the weekend).
Instead, I could — and plan to — try Craigslist. The investment with that is minimal (no fees like eBay or Amazon); I was going to have to take those boxes off the shelf and tear them open to part with their contents anyway. Still, I suspect even this effort will be made in vain.
I’m a creative person. Yet even I am disappointed by my own lack of imagination when it comes to somehow dispensing with these things that should have (and do have, darn it!) worth. I should be able to do something with them to make them worth-ful again! But what? The only suggestion I’ve received thus far is to use the encyclopedias as tinder, which, as an avid reader and writer, makes me feel like a traitorous murderer.
So… what to do? Thoughts?