Tuesday, March 23, 2010

They can pry his shirts out of his cold, dead hands

posted Wed, 23 Aug 2006

This is how it’s going to go when SH finally starts the heartbreaking process of pulling blue shirts out of his closet for the clothing drive at his church.

“I remember when I bought this shirt. I had a 20% off coupon from the Boston Store mailer and it was already on sale, half off. I love this shirt! I wore it when the Brewers played the Braves in 2002 right after the new stadium opened and so-and-so hit a home run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game.”

This shirt will not have been worn for oh, four years, but that doesn’t matter. “I might wear it again someday.”

105 shirts. Five minutes of reminiscing per shirt. You do the math because I’m too lazy. But that’s about seven hours. Or more.

And how many of those shirts will actually end up in the “go” pile?

Very, very few.

Because SH’s house, despite its extreme tidiness, is the black hole of stuff. Things come in but they don’t come out. I made the mistake of bringing new running shoes last week to replace the pair that resided here. “What are you doing?” SH asked, as I took the old shoes toward the trash.

“Throwing these away,” I answered. Duh.

“Why? Those are perfectly good shoes.”

“No they’re not. They’re worn out. They hurt my feet when I run.” (OK, when I walk.) “That’s why I brought new shoes to leave here. They’re no good any more.”

“They’d be just fine for someone who wants to walk around. Give them to me and I’ll take them to charity.”

Reluctantly, I handed them over. Who wants second-hand tennis? Second-hand Ferregamos, sure. But running shoes? Ick!

He put them in the Black Hole of Calcutta, aka his closet. I sighed, knowing they would never leave. This is the same guy who, until I teased him about it unmercifully, still had the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Entertainment Coupon Books in his office.

He still has the past four months of newspaper coupons stacked neatly in the corner. “Coupons, by definition, are useless when they’re old!” I tell him.

“There might be something useful in there,” he says defensively. [Am I driving SH to get his own blog or what? I’ll pay for this.]

I throw my hands into the air and walk away. SH has moved a handful of times his entire life. I moved more than a dozen times before I graduated from high school and more than a dozen times since. I’ve learned to travel light. My heirs are going to have a much easier time cleaning the house when I’m dead. But his will have something to wear.

SH just pointed out that he threw away the newspaper coupons on Monday night after getting sick and darn tired of hearing me nag him about them.

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