Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Junk

Ha! After "My Hair" and "My Arm," you thought this was going to be another up-close-and-personal look at my various body parts, didn't you?! Woo-hoo! That would have been a long one! Er, I mean... never mind.

I have too much stuff. Not as much stuff as my wife and kids, luckily, but still I have stuff I don't really need but cannot bear to part with. Given the egregious lack of storage space in our house, this is arguably a serious problem. Or just a nuisance. Mostly that.

For instance, when I worked at the Turning Stone Casino, I was required to wear "formal business attire" every day - eg. a dress shirt, suit, tie, etc. In order to get maximum life out of my wearing of each suit, I had made for me additional sets of pants for two of them, since you can usually only wear the pants a couple of times between dry-cleanings, but can generally wear the jacket 4-6 times before it needs to be cleaned (this is both because it's got a dress shirt to help keep it clean and also because the first thing you do when you enter a room is remove your jacket and hang it over your chair. The damn things ought to be outlawed. But I digress). I no longer need to dress in formal attire, well, pretty much ever. Funerals every year or so... that's about it. So I don't need my Good Suit, or my two Plain Suits with the Extra Pants, or my Other Good Suit That I Really Liked When I Bought It But Now I Think Makes Me Look Like a Mobster. One or even two might be okay, but I certainly don't need four (plus the extra pants). Moreover, I arguably don't need all of the dress shirts I got at the same time, especially the ones that aren't "wrinkle-free," because hell I'm never ever wearing those. Iron? Me? Bah! Another brief digression:

I used to travel a lot on business, often with my buddy Warren who was the Sales Manager who sold the services that my Service Operation delivered. Warren was ex-military and, unlike a lot of guys, actually did know how to iron. On more than one occasion, I would meet Warren at the door to his hotel room in the morning before a tradeshow or client meeting, he'd take one look at me, and order me to remove my wrinkled shirt (which I had already attempted - and failed - to iron) so he could iron it properly.That should adequately highlight the breadth of my ironing abilities.

So I've got at least three superfluous suits and probably ten shirts that I'll never wear again. And I'm not including things like my Renn Faire garb, my gorilla suit and my Santa suit (shh, don't tell the wee ones) which I wear rarely but do wear at least once a year. It all takes up quite a bit of space, and no doubt contributed to the collapse of my closet rod (and its attached shelf) earlier this year. Attempts to replace said rod with an "easy-to-assemble" closet organizer have been, so far, fruitless.

I also have an entire bookshelf of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons materials from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. It's in the basement so it's not really in the way, but it's one of those "I'd like to have reason to use this stuff again someday, but it's sort of unlikely I actually will" sort of things. You see, it's all 1st Edition and 2nd Edition material, and the game is now up to 4th Edition. I don't like 4th Edition, but I do own some of the basic rulebooks for it. I'd like to introduce my kids to the game at some point, when they're all old enough, but it's a tough call. If I work from 2nd Edition materials, I'd be limited to what I already own because the different versions are largely incompatible. I do have a LOT of stuff, however, so we could probably get by for a long time. What I don't have, though, are some of the newer "get an adventure up and running really really fast" sorts of materials that would be nice since I just don't have time to build an elaborate campaign around a series of interconnected adventures the way I did when I was a teenager.

The alternative would be to use the 4th Edition stuff. It has some nice, easy-to-use materials, but all of my old 2nd Edition stuff would be functionally unusable (I could mine it for ideas, but all of the game-play details would be wrong). On the one hand I really dislike the new rules, which seem to be trying to turn the Pen-and-Paper Role-Playing Game into the offline equivalent of an Online Role-Playing Game like World of Warcraft. Which I think is stupid, but there you are. On the other hand, if my kids ever decide to play D&D with anyone other than me, they would almost certainly be using the most recent set of rules, rather than the 20-year-old out-of-print rules I have, so it might be better to just start them on those. Sigh. Ayway, add that to the list of stuff of dubious utility cluttering up my house.
Related to the above, I have several boxes of Dragon Magazine that I will not throw away. Why not? Who knows? All of the old issues are available online as PDFs at Wizards of the Coast's website, so it's not as if I'm keeping them for the quality of their information (all of which, again, is largely out of date unless I'm using the old 2nd Edition rulebooks. Which, as I noted above, I technically could). I could argue that I'm keeping them for their beautiful cover art, except that I have them in boxes where I can't actually see it, so that's bogus. I could argue that I'm saving them for their potential long-term resale-value, since I have issues going back to the single-digits and, if I remember right, I have pretty much every issue from about #20 through about #200 or so. My gradeschool friend Art Prest traded me all of the really old issues, which I read thoroughly and decided I adored enough to get a subscription, which I maintained for around ten years give-or-take. However I have no idea whether they're worth anything at all, individually or as a collection, and have no intention of finding out anytime soon, so for the moment they're just taking up space.

Likewise, I have some unknown quantity of Dungeon Magazine, also in boxes, and also useful only if I ever decided to run a 2nd Edition AD&D game again. Which, you know, could theoretically happen, I suppose.

Comics! I have comics! Sadly, I got rid of my childhood comic collection when I was 13 and we moved, so all of my old Rom, Spaceknight and Superman Family and Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Justice League and Legion of Superheroes comics are long gone. I'm pretty sure I sold them for a pittance, too. The guy who bought the entire box seemed pretty happy, which is always a sure sign you've underpriced your stuff at a garage sale. Ah well. Luckily (I suppose), I now have several large and medium-sized boxes of comics that I started collecting back in the mid 1990s. I have quite a few X-Men comics, especially spin-offs like Bishop and Cable. I hated collecting X-Men, though, because you had to subscribe to about 8 different titles to get the complete story through all of the cross-overs. I also have dozens and dozens of What If? comics, as well as pretty much every comic that J. Michael Straczynski ever wrote, right up to the brand-new Superman and Wonder Woman comics released last month (including the all new and arguably improved Wonder Woman outfit that was widely covered by the media. No, I don't have the outfit, just the comic she wears it in. Perv.).

I don't know when or if I will ever read these comics again, or if my kids will ever want them, or what to do with them. But I can't just throw them out, I'm not optimistic that they're worth anything, and they won't stand neatly on a bookshelf, so into the boxes they have gone. Boxes and boxes. Sigh.

If you don't include all of the novels in my library (which I cherish and do actually re-read from time-to-time), that's the bulk of my junk collection, but it's enough to be in the way. It pales by comparison to my wife and kids' junk collections, but it's still substantial. As I think about it, though, I am resolved. I'm getting rid of the wrinkle-prone shirts (except the fancy ones that I like and do wear on occasion - there's only three) and probably a couple of the suits. That will free up closet space and be that much less that I need to cram into it when I finish the organizer and have to put everything back.

See how easy that was?

No, I'm not getting rid of the other stuff. I just need to build an additon on the house so there's room for it.

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