Fri, 26 October 2007
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Here's this episode's transcript...
When I had Andy Rooney in the car with me the other day, I thought that he didn’t have long to live.
This isn’t a doomsday prediction but Andy Rooney is getting older and sometimes I think his comments show some senility.
In an effort to make things seamless for CBS (or whoever runs 60-Minutes these days) when they replace him, I’m doing an Andy Rooney-esque podcast.
I’m also doing this because the people at DaveBarry.com and David Sedaris.co.uk.fr won’t take my calls. I would really like to replace one of them.
But here goes my brief and brilliant Rooney swoon.
Did you ever wonder why the labels on pudding tell you that you can’t sell them individually? It’s not like you can eat more than a couple in one sitting. Is this rule in place to keep mom and pop stores from making any money by breaking apart the puddings into little orphan units?
What about the singles rack in the beer cooler? Who decided it was a good idea to gather together one bottle each from 47 odd brands of beer and charge $2 apiece for them.
It kinda makes sense, but how did the other five beers in the six pack disappear? Are they like socks in the dryer?
That reminds me, as I sit her in my office I just know that my laundry is not getting done at home because I failed once again to win the lottery.
Had I won the lottery – pretty much any lottery would do – I wouldn’t wash anything. I’d throw it all away every day and start over.
Well, I might keep two sets of clothes just so I’d have something to wear to the clothing store to buy new stuff.
But then I’d probably have to have a driver because I itch pretty easily and don’t want to be distracted when I drive by some itchy sensation in my new clothes.
I guess I’d sit in the back seat or better yet I’d lie down in the back of a limo. Sometimes limo drivers stock the back of their cars with neat little treats like crackers and soda.
On the way to the airport one time I found a sandwich in the back of the limo. It was really tasty.
But what would I do after I snack on my sandwich and have my drink? I’d probably want a pudding.
And it’s too bad, too. Because I’d only need one pudding and for some reason, they’re not marked for individual sale.
Wed, 24 October 2007
Episode 27 for October 23, 2007 - Here's the transcript...
I’m not sure why cooler weather causes people to think the rest of society has gone insane, but it does. The sudden proliferation of brightly colored signs in every neighborhood around town is a regular occurrence on Saturday mornings from early September until nearly November. That’s right, everyone is having a yard sale. The insane part comes from the belief that people actually want their crap.
If you’re familiar with my lifestyle, you’d probably lecture me on throwing stones from my glass house. But if there’s one thing I understand, it’s that my collection of junk has value to me and I wouldn’t insult others by foisting it upon them. And IF I ever fell into the “sell all this crap to make space for more crap? trap, I wouldn’t base my pricing on some mystical process of sentimentality, greed and quarter dollar economics.
If you stroll around a yard sale, you’ll see books in moldy boxes, broken electronics and piles of National Geographics. Why would you do it? Do you need the money that badly? Will your cast offs make people happy?
What about getting rid of your junk on FreeCycle or any number of the services that will come to your house and pick up your used belongings.
FreeCycle is a trading site, or more accurately a site that allows you to offer your stuff to the first respondent. The only drawbacks are that it requires that you be online frequently so you can be first to get that great Nordic Track that someone is giving away. And that you can put up with multiple people ignoring the suggested rules and posting only ‘WANTED’ ads. That means they are not offering anything but would like a free game system, digital camera, car to “get to and from college? and more.
Some of these sad stories might be noble, but no more so than the people from the United Way or Goodwill or Salvation Army. These groups will come right to your doorstep and take away pretty much ALL your junk in one visit. No more setting up tables at 6AM on a Saturday so you can sit outside all day and make small talk with people who want to buy a Beanie Baby for $.15.
I’d like to think that as a society we’ve realized that we’re all about duplication and division and yard sales are just a step in that process. When you have first have a house and no kids, you have a yard sale to get rid of duplicate stuff. Essentially everything the guy brings to the relationship is now on sale. Then when you have kids, you buy stuff for them and upgrade some of your stuff.
13-inch TVs go on the sales block as do older video games, clothes, books, small appliances, sleds, golf equipment from 1801, candle sticks and anything that looks like it came from a house with 52 cats and an insane spinster woman (sadly, we all have crap like this laying around).
The crock pot, box of CDs and board game section are all favorites. As are the odd finds like a broken down Vespa, a hammock in a bag or telephones, telephones, telephones.
Ultimately, our quest to simplify is actually succeeding. People are recycling more and more stuff, they’re buying less and paper use is starting to dwindle as more people use electronic communication to make contact with others.
But is simplification – and I realize I’m swinging from topic to topic here – really a state of true happiness? I like my stuff. I don’t mind that a few wires clutter the floor or that I can actually find my typing machine, my N64 or my comic books when I need to.
I also don’t think that it’s necessary to hide all my clothes away so that visitors think I have a magical existence. In every life there’s some clutter. Your lifestyle dictates how well you can function within that clutter.
So the next time you’re going out yard sailing, think about yourself first and not about the poor schmoe who wants to sell you an ammo can from WWII for five bucks. If you’re going to make use of his junk, then buy it. But don’t think you’re helping others by rewarding their sloth.
Even though that strainer or funnel or candlestick holder might be a quarter, isn’t your hard-earned cash, no matter how little, better spent on stuff you really need?
Maybe it would help if the money here were patterned along the lines of the Euro and other bright currencies. Then the only colored signs you’d have to be wary of would be the sign of cash flowing out of your pocket and being traded for crap.
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