The late, great George Carlin did a fabulous comedy routine about stuff.
According to George, the whole meaning of life is trying to find a place to put your stuff, and a house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.
I’ve been thinking about stuff a lot lately. That’s because I think I have way too much stuff. And if you force me to, I will reluctantly admit that I definitely have too much stuff.
Moving does that to you. It makes you accountable for all of your stuff.
Late last year, not only did I move my office from Las Vegas to Boulder City, I moved my household across the valley. That’s a lot of stuff to move.
Now that I have moved all that stuff, I’m beginning to wonder why I have it all or if I need it all.
My desk drawer contains several filled-up reporter’s notebooks. OK, a lot of old notebooks. Why do I save them? I don’t know. It just seems to be something reporters do. In all my years of working for newspapers, I have yet to find a need to go back and review old notes. Yet, I can’t seem to part with them.
I used to be that way about press kits, too. I figured you never knew when you might need the name or phone number of a source, or a photo.
Now, though, I realize a new press kit or two arrives in the mail almost daily and the Internet is like the world’s largest telephone book and library.
That, however, hasn’t stopped me from collecting press kits on flash drives. Only the old-fashioned paper ones seem to find their way to the circular file. I have filled nearly an entire file cabinet drawer with flash drives, especially the cute or unique ones. I have them shaped like frogs, company logos, made of bamboo and a few that light up.
In the past year, I have tried — seriously tried — not to save so many things or to retire an old item when I bought something new. Some days I was merciless, purging things I once thought I couldn’t live without. Rarely did I regret my actions, but there were a few occasions when I knew I had something and then sadly remembered that I had gotten rid of it in one of my mad frenzies.
And yet, several rooms in my home are filled with boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. Slowly they are getting unpacked, one by one. And the ones that aren’t getting unpacked are stacked on shelves in the garage waiting patiently for me.
And I’m sure they’ll wait for me for a while — a long while. I still have a few boxes that I haven’t unpacked since moving to Nevada from California in 2001.
The same goes for the boxes in my office. I’m mostly settled into my new home-away-from-home. Although I do have to admit that I haven’t been able to tackle the locker filled with — you guessed it — more stuff in the main building in Las Vegas. I really should; the stuff there won’t do me much good when I’m working here in Boulder City.
I’m also afraid I’m passing on my pack-rat tendencies to my daughters. I was astonished at the number of boxes it took to contain all of their belongings.
Maybe if we all work together we can banish this monster called stuff. Until then, I have a lot of unpacking to do.