Collecting Stuff

I have this theory about collections.

They always seem like a great idea at the outset. They are fun and unique and a form of self-expression. And they’re a bit of immortality, too, because if you collect owls, then everyone who knows you will instantly think of you whenever they see anything that’s owl-related.

But over time, collections often take on a life of their own. They take up space. They cost a fortune. You sort of become a slave to your collection. Even if you want to stop accumulating postcards of chimpanzees, for example, people will start sending them to you. That thing you’ve chosen to chain yourself to will be all that you get for Christmas from now until the end of time.

Before you know it, you’re outnumbered. And if you move with any frequency at all, you’ll probably rue the day you started collecting those beer steins. It’s just one more damned crate to pack. Stuff.

I used to collect t-shirts from my travels, but it soon got out of hand. I have more t-shirts than I’ll ever wear. No one will want them when I’m gone. It’s senseless. So I switched over to something cheaper and smaller—refrigerator magnets. They do take up less space. But I may never see the surface of my fridge again.

So if you’re thinking of starting a collection, my advice would be “Run! Run away!” But if you can’t resist, at least choose wisely. Not only will it define you, but it will impoverish you, and bury you under a mountain of… well, let’s just say I hope you pick something light.

collections

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Blended Families

After I got married, my dog Quagmire found himself as part of a three-dog family for the first time ever. And he’s having adjustment issues. He’s been rather spoiled for the past few years. He’s been the center of my world, the apple of my eye. My snuggle partner in crime.

Now, all of a sudden, he’s the tiniest dog in a pack. I’m not even sure Junior, the Australian Shepherd, is aware that Quag is a dog. “What is this little rodent-sized creature that’s nipping at my heels?” he seems to say.

Quagmire can walk right under him without even having to lower his head. Not that he would. Because he’s way, way too busy trying to be Alpha. The two of them are very confused with one another. Quagmire growls. Junior, being deaf, ignores him, and tries to herd him from room to room. And that makes Quagmire growl even more.

Sweet Nelly, the third dog in this menagerie, tries her best to stay out of it. She looks at me with pleading eyes, as if to say, “None of this is my fault.” The curse of being a middle child.

If the Brady Bunch taught us nothing else, it’s that there are bound to be growing pains with every blended family. But when I see Quagmire following Nelly around in awe, or when he snuggles up against dear husband and contentedly snores while we watch a movie, I know that somehow, some way, it will all work out perfectly, and that some bright, shiny day, hopefully in the very near future, he’ll stop trying to mark his territory on our lovely hardwood floors.

Our Menagerie

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