Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Eighteenth: Lil' Houses for Big People

Americans live in excess. That's a pretty accepted fact, which we do nothing to reduce or avoid, but accepted none the less. My mother owns well, I couldn't even begin to guess what exactly is the extent of her assets. A lot that's for damn sure. Here's a quote roughly remembered from, you guessed it, Henry David Thoreau... Ok I can't even begin to remember it, but more or less it was comparing most men to a nation whose provinces are continually changing so that even the citizens themselves could not tell you where the boarder is. It was poetic and brilliant to me earlier. What I was saying was that we live in a gross excess and spend a great deal of our time coping with the side effects there of. (The sick art of dusting comes to mind with that thought. Eghk!) Rather than do anything to solve the problem we run around acquiring more dust collecting contraptions to organize the unnecessary messes of our lives. It's absurd and its a perpetual spiral I fear. Americans have been getting more and more shit ever since we've been able to. My god! It makes me want to weep when I think how much of our blessed culture revolves around the pursuit and upkeep of worthless possessions. I do remember one thing Thoreau said clearly, he kept calling men's possessions 'traps'. When describing the way a family moved from one house to another he said it was as if they were dragging all the possessions on their backs. Their legs had gotten caught in the traps of excess. Is there anything worse than being a slave to the very things you have surrounded yourself with of your own freewill?
I am a slave to my possessions; I know this very well. There are boxes and boxes, chests and trunks, cabinets upon cabinets all around me filled with the physical 'memories' of my past. Yesterday evening I seriously contemplated having a bonfire to burn all the fucking certificates I've accumulated. If a group wants to congratulate someone, through them a fucking party! Get your happy little graduate drunk or high or silly or what have you but please do not hand him a slip of paper and call it an honor. It is bullshit and everyone knows all those embossed sheets will rot in a box anyway! Can we as a people, as a collection of individuals, as sovereign entities in ourselves stop cluttering up true life with hollow symbols that we have 'lived'.
The reasons for my coming down on this so strongly are many and varied. However, chiefly it is because I am so very much at fault concerning this particular sin. I used to think there was no higher pleasure than riffling through old shit, pulling out memories and mysterious secret hunks of matter not meant for my eyes. I wished to preserve myself, every step of the way through life, by preserving the things I touched, the pieces of plastic and glass and cloth that meant something to me at one time, if not anymore. I have an extensive collection of piles representing the contents of various purses and backpacks I've toted around going back at least 6 years. Yeah it seems fucked up now. At the time I was packing these things, saving them lovingly, burying my life in dust and fragments of paper, I thought it was nothing less than my duty! For if I was to die, or to bear children future generations would surely like to know who I was, and what better way than to leave them a physical history.
It's bullshit. Total, complete bullshit.
I think I will have that bonfire. Who really cares about my high school diploma? No one asks to see that. Colleges want transcripts, but no one cares about this shit I have around me. I think what I'll do is go through all the boxes, trunks, cabinets, etc. pulling out the valuable sellable stuff as I go and burn up the rest to a crispy sweet freedom.Who wants s'mores?

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