I love spring cleaning - at heart, I am a purger. My possessions have about a 3-week shelf-life, and if I haven't used it by then, it gets donated away.
But I do have a weakness for those sentimental little things that for some reason we all feel compelled to hang onto until either they, or we, turn back into dust. The small stuff I can scrapbook out of sight, but the bigger things...the things that sit in a sometimes-unloved pile, the things that make you feel heartless if you throw away and pack-ratish if you keep. For me, this boils down to a pile of toys. Toys! Toys that I don't need or use, and are only good for the memories attached to them...and in case you hadn't notice, memories are not supposed to take up nearly so much storage space.
Here is a toy line-up of potential throw-away candidates. The prosecution will try them as trash; the defense will plea not-guilty by reason of sentimentality. You be the judge.
Specimen A: Tigger
Technically, Tigger is not mine. Tigger is Jason's. I gave it to him about six and a half years ago when I moved away. I thought he would appreciate having something cute and cuddly to sleep with, since his first choice (me) was no longer available.
Apparently Tigger was a poor replacement though, because the very next day, not 24 hours after our tearful goodbye, Jason had driven the many miles to my new home where he took up the majority of the room on my single bed (note: sleeping with your naked ass pressed up against the cold cement wall makes for disturbing dreams) and he crowded my single life until he persuaded me to leave it 4 weeks later, and we moved in together...completely nullifying the need for Tigger.
In 1997, the Taco Bell chihuahua was a veritable television star, and someone decided he would make a good Christmas gift for me. I have no idea why.
At the time, you pressed his paw and he said all sorts of his most popular catchphrases - "What is a logarithm?" , "Can't this boat go any faster?" and "I think I need a bigger box". It wasn't long before I completely forget what used to funny about these sayings.
But Taco Bell dog hasn't said any of these things in years, thanks to an unfortunate accident involving rum punch (note: more rum than punch). Actually, it wasn't even the bath in potent potables that did him in, but the subsequent ride in the washing machine that permanently silenced him.
This guy I got at the zoo more than a year ago, not because I was disgruntled by my monkey-deficit but purely because I never buy souvenirs.
But then I realize, there's a good reason not to buy souvenirs. Souvenirs are pointless. I've rarely had any monkey-related fun since bringing him home. In fact, for the first 3 months I hung him from my bed post, he scared the crap out of me every time I got up to pee at night and saw a vague shadowy figure hanging over my head.
This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
These are the bears. Now, despite the unholy things Jason does to them (and turning my favourite red fedora into a bear-pimp hat that I can no longer bring myself to wear), they actually are much sweeter than they seem.
The "boy" bear (wearing the hat) belonged first to Jason. It was given to him by his ex-girlfriend. He denies this, but I was there when he unwrapped it, so no fooling me. But later, when he and I were going out, he once cheered me up by shoving an mp3 player loaded with my favourite songs up the bear's butt and bringing him to my house.
The "girl" bear is holding a pink pouch, which once contained some very nice jewelry that Jason gave to me...oh, 7 years ago. The jewelry is long gone. I keep her around hoping Jason might take the hint and once again impregnate her with all things sparkly & shiny. But if 7 years are any indicator, I think I'm out of luck.
The bride and groom bears are much more chaste, for some reason. They sit on a bench engraved with our wedding date, a bridal shower gift from my sisters 5 long years ago.
In case you were wondering, the bride isn't wearing any panties, and bear-tuxes are a bitch to dust. And his bowtie...well, let's just say it hasn't been the same since my bitch of a dog got a crush on him and tried to express her affection in any manner of inappropriate ways.
This is chicken-dance Elmo. Press a button and he literally sings and dances his way through the funky chicken. It's even more annoying than it sounds, trust me.
Many moons ago, I was working in a toy store around Christmas time. How nuts is that? Working there made my uterus shrivel up and die, but even worse were the parents (and I fear, the childless adults who hover around the toy section nevertheless). It's the adults who will press the "try me out!" button over and over and over, ad nauseum. And in case there was any doubt, I mean ad nauseum in the it-made-me-vomit-in-the-Barbie-aisle at least 3 times per shift.
So of course it only made sense that Jason told me his Christmas would be incomplete without him. Fucker. I have lived to regret it ever since - mostly because the button is incredibly sensitive, and Elmo is likely to start chirping at all hours of the day, scaring the nauseum out of me on more than one occasion.
The red head is Chuckie, from The Rugrats. The big-mouth is Scoop, my one and only Beanie Baby. Both were given to me upon the happy occasion of my first surgery.
It was nothing big, just the digging of holes in my head, removing cysts and wisdom teeth from my sweet sweet jaw. When I woke up, my parents gave me Scoop, and I wished for an instance that I could go back to having scalpels inside my mouth, because this was the first time they'd been in the same room together since The Divorce. Chuckie was given to me by my sister. I slept with him and when I woke up, Chuckie was soaked right through with blood. We tried to scrub him well, but I fear that nearly 10 years later, he still would not stand up under a black light.
And finally, we have Porkeroo. He's the most recent addition to the motley crew, and it seems he was given to me for the sole reason that he matched the robe that was the main gift. He's sweet and cuddly, and he's pocket-ready.
But I'm 25 years old, and not getting any younger. Fuzzy pigs have limited value to me. I mean, if I could raise him for the love of bacon I might be more inclined to keep him. But as he is not, I do wonder, what is the life expectancy of a pig?
All right- turn in your verdict. What will stay and what will go? And if you're feeling brave, you might even own up to the sentimental pieces of crap that you can't bring yourself to throw out either.