My husband's latest obsession is watching shows about hoarders. He sits on the couch and devours them, one after the other, like a child consuming a box of animal crackers. I can't understand why, because his reaction at the end of every episode is always the same. "Why don't they just back up a truck and shovel all of that garbage into it?" I try to explain to him that it's not that easy. Some people have an emotional attachment to their possessions and cannot bear to part with them. He invariably answers that the show makes him feel like throwing EVERYTHING away. I know what he really means is everything...as long as it belongs to someone else.
One day last year I was watching one of those entertainment news programs (one of my guilty pleasures, but it's okay because Anthony Hopkins watches it too!) and I saw Lindsay Lohan wearing a Journey t-shirt. I have the exact shirt, only mine is an original, bought from a booth outside of the L.A. show of the Frontiers World Tour in 1983 with money earned from my job at the neighborhood Sizzler. It is in perfect condition, because it has spent the 28 1/2 years since then (am I really THAT old?) in a container in my closet. I was foolish enough to mention the LiLo sighting to my husband, and his response was, "Why don't you try to sell your shirt on eBay? You could probably get a couple hundred dollars for it." A couple hundred dollars. Would it really be worth it?
Of course what my loving, conveniently oblivious husband doesn't realize is that the shirt is more than a mere t-shirt. It is a symbol of those long gone carefree days of youth before adult responsibilities became a factor in my life. Journey was the first band I ever saw in concert. I have every one of their albums up to Trial by Fire (remember when they used to press actual records out of vinyl?) The band had a lasting influence on my musical tastes and are partially responsible for my initial attraction to my husband (when I met him he had the most beautiful, long rock 'n' roll hair I've ever seen, and his voice bears an eerie similarity to Steve Perry's at the height of Journey's popularity!) How could a couple of hundred dollars ever compensate me for that?
The thing that amazes me even more is how he fails to make the connection between the tortured souls on the hoarding shows and his own refusal to throw anything away. He has a cabinet full of half-used paint cans, saws for every purpose, about thirty hammers, sets of metric, standard, allen, and torx wrenches, and modified tools for any situation. He is always saving 'leftover' nuts and bolts in old peanut butter jars and, in fact, often purchases new items to add to his ever expanding trove. Just last weekend he bought a set of disc breaks for a car he never drives. It is his prized possession, a '72 Ford Bronco that has been sitting in our garage for 18 years. It looks like a life-sized Tonka truck, the kind of toy he professes to have been his favorite when he was a little boy...hmmm...perhaps I'M missing something here.
Upon closer examination, what could it hurt to let him keep his newest treasure (an old cargo blanket he rescued from the side of the road) after all?