Thursday, July 1, 2010


I have four computers, six guitars (two acoustics, one slide, one pedal steel, one Fender Strat), probably about 20 pairs of shoes. I have four cars, three bicycles, five pairs of online skates, three fishing rods, more tools than I know (both metric and SAE), maybe two thousand books, 400 CDs, 125 DVDs, three TV sets, an old Xbox, five tennis rackets, two hockey sticks, 500 VHS tapes. A hundred or so T-shirts, 14 shorts, 12 jeans, six pairs of cowboy boots, two lawn mowers, four shovels, two really big trashcans. And that’s just the beginning. I won’t go into the cans of tuna, bottles of soy sauce, frozen hunks of fish, 1287 tea bags (that may be an exaggeration. I really didn’t count them.), strings of Italian sausage (hot and mild) as well as the occasional packet of andouilles, chorizos and bratwursts. I also have sauerkraut, six types of Indian curry sauces that all look and smell the same though they have different names, at least five pounds of assorted cheeses, and one bag of tofu chicken strips. Since I sell a lot of stuff on eBay, I there’s an eclectic collection of empty cardboard boxes and many rolls of packing tape in the basement. I have 18 pairs of sunglasses.

It’s time to lighten the load.

Actually, I’ve been trying to do that for several years. Not to pat myself on the back but not that long ago I had 15 guitars, eight cars and two motorcycles, plus one trailer. So there’s progress, if not perfection.

How I acquired all this stuff is something of a mystery. Forty years ago I moved from place to place with one duffel bag. Not that much later, my belongings would fit into a medium-sized van. Now I’m looking at a full-sized Mayflower moving truck.

Starting about 20 years ago, stuff started sticking to me.  Musical instruments were particularly adhesive. I’ve always loved guitars—their shapes, smells and sounds—and I started buying and reselling them for very little profit, and then one day I saw an accordion and had to have that. I never learned to handle it, but it was a thing of rare beauty, a vintage Red Crown made in Italy and I resold it to someone who played classical music on her accordion and had been looking for a Red Crown for years. So then I bought an accordion to keep for myself, learned to stagger through Frères Jacques and promptly decided I should stick to the guitar.

I have drums and oodles of electronic gizmos and pedals to change the nature of any given sound. I have a sixteen track mixing board that, to this day, I do not know how to operate.

I think that within a year or two I will have the mother of all garage sale, and put price tags on just about everything that can be moved. I will lose my shirt in the process, but that’s OK. I think it might be worth it for the sheer, unencumbered freedom of it all.

Maybe I’ll do a Thoreau, move to Kerr Lake and make it my own Walden Pond. No phones, cell or otherwise.  There’s a beach on the lake just like the one outside Concord. A lot fewer people though. Ah well, there’s time to consider it. In the meantime, anyone interested in 17 pairs of sunglasses?  

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