Rendered Fat Content


Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre (circa 1844)
"Assets to assets, dust to dust."

Most possessions more possess their owner than are possessed by any owner. Possession might remain nine-tenths of the law, but it buys little, though it does occupy space. The more possessions one has, the more space one needs to contain them, and the vast majority of that stuff just sits, never referenced, never touched. My folks' place, the house within which I grew up, eventually became a museum dedicated simply to containing an amazing inventory of long-unused stuff. In their final few years, neither my mom nor my dad could get to either the basement or the second floor, so those parts of the place, fully two-thirds of it, simply collected dust. After my dad died and my mom finally begrudgingly accepted the necessity of moving into an assisted living facility, the family quickly cleared out the place we'd long-imaged a repository of long-forgotten treasures. We found a few treasures, but we mostly uncovered tombs to long-ago summers. A set of long-illegal lethal lawn darts. Canned plums from the summer of 1965, still apparently good after more than forty years spent on a shelf in a far back corner of the basement. Most of the imagined treasures had turned to Sh!t by the time we started exorcizing them along with their demons.

That's the thing about possessions, they need to maintain at least a modest velocity or they inevitably degrade.
My mom insisted that she would make a mint if we hosted an enormous estate sale to get rid of all her accumulated Sh!t. I, in delusional deference, duly boxed up the lot of it, everything not garnering immediate dibs, and hefted it up into the garage rafters for that Later Mythical Garage Sale, which ultimately never happened, thank heavens. The Muse and I shortly thereafter went into exile and nobody had the stomach to muster that Mythical Garage Sale. My sister eventually called someone specializing in dispatching such Sh!t, and they hauled it all away. The blessing came in not being assessed a drayage fee for the disposal. Entropy had long before had her way with the lot of it. Once treasures eventually, inexorably turn to Sh!t.

Considering HeadingHomeward reminds me of all the once treasures that have turned to Sh!t in my orbit. It's been five and a half years since we last over-turned the inventory in a move, and much of our stuff has never once left the initial place we found for it upon our arrival. We have a basement closet, a huge sucker running beneath stairs, which I deliberately avoid ever going into. It became the designated black hole when we arrived and has maintained that status ever since. I never found the courage to crawl up into the attic or that would probably contain a heap of long-forgotten possessions, too, dusty and transformed into Sh!t. What was once considered well worth schlepping across the country twice would have become a small city much appreciated by mice. 'Twas always thus.

It might be wise to pass some laws mandating that all possessions simply must be moved at least every five years. Whatever clever place became a possession's final resting place the last time it was touched, would have to be relocated, if only to degrade the rate of inevitable degradation. I would include financial assets in this rule, such that if one had a vault filled with lucre, different lucre would have to replace it there. Every possession would have to be touched. Of course, many items, once treasured, would have turned to Sh!t over the period since the last reshuffling, and could be disbursed in a Mythical Garage Sale, simply carted off for consignment, or gratefully, finally donated to Goodwill. The velocity of the whole economy would certainly be increased exponentially, and more might be rendered right with this world. When you hear me, in upcoming missives from HeadingHomeward, speak of all the crap we're contending with, I will most certainly be speaking of precisely this Sh!t which we once treasured then later became merely burdened with. Assets to assets, dust to dust.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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