Having It All

Note: This is the first in a series of posts I’m planning to write to help focus my thoughts on electronic clutter… like the 5000+ items in my inbox at work, or the 2000+ unread items in my aggregator.

I am a collector. I do not always collect, but I have the collector’s mentality. As a child, I collected stamps and baseball cards. Although I spent some time admiring the designs of the stamps, I was never more than a passing pro baseball fan. I collected not because of a raw interest in what I collected, but because of a need to collect. To count and categorize. To compare what I had against a known universe of what I could collect.

Like any good (bad) habit, this didn’t end in childhood. At my previous job (over 6 years ago), the cafeteria carried Nantucket Nectars juices. I was a serious fan of their cranberry juice coctail, and had at least one a day. If you’ve never seen Nantucket Nectars drinks, they come in bottle very similar to Snapple. On the underside of each bright purple metal bottlecap was a little piece of trivia about the town of Nantucket and its residents. Some of it was pretty esoteric, but it was interesting, different. So I found a box and began to collect these bottle caps. I don’t know why. Even today, my TiVo is filled with episodes of Good Eats waiting to be put onto tape, because I’m collecting them.

I am also a pack rat… a related condition. Over the past weekend Sherri and I cleaned our garage. We have a two-car garage which has never seen a car inside it in the three years we have lived here. This is half due to things like bicycles, lawnmowers, and other items for which I have no other place to store. But it is also half due to a large number of boxes (and a few other large items) that we stored in the garage temporarily when we moved into the house. Alot of this stuff was mine, and alot of it was only there because I’m a packrat. I have a Commodore 64 and a disk drive for same, plus many, many floppies for it that are sure to no longer work. I have the first PC that I bought after Sherri and I were married, a 75mhz Pentium that may or may not have had a processor upgrade (don’t remember). I have two old Sun machines, I think they are Sparc 1’s. They were originally network clients, and have no internal HDs. Tried to get one working with a SCSI hard drive someone gave me a few years ago, to no avail. Wouldn’t mind getting them to net-boot Linux (if I knew how). I have an HP600 inkjet printer that might work, and an HP LaserJet III that mostly works, but needs a new infeed roller. I used to have a real live VAX complete with teletype, but I finally threw that out when we moved here. I have a 40+ year old oscilloscope and a 25+ year old portable reel-to-reel tape deck, and I have no idea if either work. And that’s just (most of) the technology stuff. Nevermind the books, old papers, etc.

I got rid of alot of junk and clutter, but most of the computer stuff is still in the garage (and yes, there’s more in the basement)… you just never know when you’re going to need it. I did manage to throw away a box I found, full of slightly rusted purple bottle caps.

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One Response to “Having It All”

  1. dugh Says:

    too funny!<br/>

    i, too, suffer this “affliction” of collection… including, apparently, many of the same items (sparc stations!). i’ve also got collections of jolt cans/bottles, coins i’ve picked up as tips from previous bartending jobs, downloadable software (and updates) throughout the years, almost every email i’ve ever sent/recieved, papers, magazine clippings, picture clippings, blah blah blah. the good thing is i’m not married (which, i suppose, is also the bad thing…) and also that my storage abilities are limited since i don’t own my own house. that being said, it’s nice to know i’m not alone, and the next time my girlfriend shakes her head in exaserbation i know i can say, “i’m not alone, there are others like me.” (side note: i think it’s genetic. my dad is notorious, too).