Friday, October 22, 2010


The past few days Tara and I have been out in the garage and shop picking our way though the junk again. We've tossed more clutch pads, brake drums, suspension rods, and a couple of obviously broken transmissions; and I'm beginning to learn the names for these things, these Volkswagen parts, something I rather resent, actually. I want my brain space for other things. Pleasant things.

But in going through that we ran across all kinds of other stuff, some baffling, some odd, some scarily vintage, as in, whoa, I'll bet this chemical is banned these days. And a lot of the usual things only a hoarder would save, of course.

See, my father saved everything that... well, okay, that sentence doesn't actually need a qualifier, does it. He pretty much just saved everything. What I meant, though, was that he was especially fond of things which could serve as containers in which to store his other stuff.

So for example, digging down into the layers of a box we found this:

That's right, it's an old cupcake tin, now full of bolts and screws and washers and who knows what. (Oooh looky my favorite! Banana nut muffins dusted with cinnamon sugar! Oh, wait, that's banana bolt muffins. And that cinnamon? Is actually rust. YUM.)

But guess what was underneath it?

It's like this sort of fractal hoarding sometimes. He saved all that stuff, so he then had to save all this stuff, but then he didn't have anywhere to put this or that stuff so he had to save old bookcases and shelves and it just never ends. Turtles all the way down, you know?

I mean even to saving stuff like this as a storage container:

Anyone else recognize that? That's right, it's the little plastic package those Cheez 'n' Crackers snacks came in.

I don't actually know when he started the hoarding. They say it tends to be something that appears (or gets worse) with age; but given that my parents were in their forties when they had us kids (my father was forty-six when I was born), it's not like I knew my father when he was young. But judging by some of the stuff we found, it looks like he was hoarding from at least before we were born, since the stuff looks like it had been there for forty years or more, judging by the design of the labels. These for example:

Or there's this box.

Pull-tabs on cans have long since been replaced by the ones that stay attached to the can. So how long ago were they new? And how did you open your beer before that? With a can-opener?

Now for the scary stuff. First this 'rag,' which, honestly, rather gives me the creeps. They don't look quite big enough to be adult-sized.

This next one is, believe it or not, a battery, one that proudly proclaims itself 'leak proof'. (This, by the way, is called irony. Alanis Morissette, listen up.)

More containers:

Genuine Volkswagen windshield washer fluid, in regular and diet.

And then there was this. I have to admit that though I don't really get why anyone would go with this theme, it's kind of fun in a Spy vs. Spy way:

You have to use it whilst humming Love Potion #9, though. Or, I suppose, Revolution #9, well, not that you can hum that, really.

It's a wacky world.


Rosa said...

I have developed a real distaste for storage tubs & organizers. One of my goals is to never acquire any more of that stuff. "fractal" is completely right - once you go down that road it never ends.

NanaR said...

On the beer question -- beer mostly came in bottles, like Coke when I was little. There may have been a brief time of beer cans that were opened with the little pointed can openers, but probably the start of pull tabs and the start of beer in cans was pretty close.

I was born in 1952 by the way, if you want a time reference. I have no knowledge of the beer progression, but definitely lived through the beginning of pop in cans...

NanaR said...

According to this site:

pull tabs were introduced in 1962.

So you have a 48 year old box there...

Dave said...

Good question, I remember that we still used Churchkeys on some cans until sometime in the mid seventies at least. I also remember that the older cans were heavier and the pull tab cans were a lot lighter, although the early pull tabs were a bear to get off.

Michele said...

This probably sounds silly but I loved your reference to turtles all the way down. A reminder for me of some old happy days in a philosophy class, something I hadn't thought about in a long time.

It seems you two are putting an end to the turtles, though. Maybe when this work is all done you could solve the other great mystery - which came first, the chicken or the egg?!! I mean, after all this, you two could do anything.

Impressive progress.

Thalia said...

Michele, I'm glad somebody got it! I'm totally just winging it here when I write.

And I believe Luna Lovegood has already answered that second one: there is no beginning to a circle.