Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, the Things we Keep

One thing I've learned since getting married is all that crap your parent have been keeping for memories and for "the grandkids", end up in your basement somehow.

We had to buy 5 shelves so all the stuff we've picked up over the past three years has a place to live and collect dust.

For instance: Sallie and I had a humble milk crate worth of Christmas decorations our first Christmas together, now we have four giant plastic tubs, a milk-crate, and a tree stand that doesn't really fit anywhere.

Sallie's Barbies are currently living in two giant plastic crates.

And then I take up the most space. I currently have a half refrigerator box filled with Star Wars toys, another smaller box with the overflow of Star Wars toys, two giant plastic boxes of Legos, and three giant plastic bins with memories and such.

So why do we keep this stuff?

I can tell you I don't spend all day down in my basement looking at it. I can't remember the last time I thought, I should really display my perfect attendance certificate from third grade. And why do I have a sandbag from the great flood of 1993 still?

Well, last night I was downstairs trying to clean some of this stuff up because it started over-flowing, and honestly I wasn't sure what we had. (My mom has managed to slip a lot of Nick and Brett's toys in with my stuff. Does she not know who's is who's or is she an evil genius? I'll let you decide.)

I managed to get rid of about three trash bags worth of stuff that I honestly didn't know what it was, stuff that was ridiculous that it was still being kept, or had been ruined by the ravages of time.

But I also realized why a lot of this stuff was kept. There are warm memories attached to everything in those bins. I'm keeping it in case I have an extremely awful day and need to remember the good times.

For instance, there are about 32 awards from my grade school days. Not only is there proof that at one point I was considered a genius, but I also had five Physical Education and Sportsman like behavior awards. I've got multiple perfect attendance awards. So contrary to the person my wife knows, there's proof that at one point I was intelligent and great at sports, and apparently I've always had a great constitution, keeping me healthy and out of the nurses office.

There's also just about every note I've ever been given by a girlfriend in one binder. You can literally follow my blossoming relationships all the way to their demise multiple times right up until my marriage. (This is going to make a great movie later when I'm famous.)

I've got so many drawings and songs and writings from my childhood. Some of which are great, some epic, but some are epically great like the giant poster board where on one side in giant letters it says "Star Wars: The Greatest Trilogy of all Time" and has a drawing of two dozen characters at the bottom. Then on the backside of the poster board is a comic called, "Mars Explorers" where these scientists on Mars are attacked and for some reason had rocket launchers with them. Makes sense in my mind.

I guess there are multiple reasons I hang on to a lot of this stuff.

1) I can draw inspiration for stories that I write. I tend to write stories that are loosely based off of life, so the more details I have of that life, the better the story. I don't have to go to my memory bank often, but when I do, I get inspired.

2) If I do ever become famous, there will be biographers willing to pay large sums of money to spend an afternoon going through these boxes.

3) If I make it to an old age (which I plan on living past 100) and I start losing my memories, I want to be able to go back to these and annoy my grand nephews and nieces with stories that "back in the 1990s, everyone drank coffee and wore flannel."

I always found the scenes in movies where people are looking at slides or old 9mm camcorder film to be this romantic concept. The imperfections or distortions of the scenes made the world seem like this happy and perfect place. I don't think we get that anymore. In the world of high-definition, we see every zit and gray hair the world has to offer.

... sort of weird that I'm romantically nostalgic for a time I wasn't even alive during.