Like you, perhaps, I have a “thing” drawer in my bedroom dresser.
This drawer is a catch all for possessions that I hardly ever use, or may have never used, but simply feel I have to keep.
It would be hard to tell the age of the owner of these things just from looking at them; many of them frankly could qualify as toys.
What sorts of objects? Five or six wigs, an old Samsung phone, stage glasses, sunglasses, a pez dispenser, juggling balls, false mustaches and sideburns, an old stocking hat I wore as a baby, two large decorative belt buckles, puppets, chargers (to what?) nylon straps (to what?) novelty watches, laminated backstage passes, bean bags, packs of trading cards…
Nothing is organized, it’s all just jammed in there. I hardly ever take anything out, just keep sticking things in. Every now and again, very rarely, I find a need for one of those items and pull it out. VERY rarely.
The fact that they have value only to me was recently verified when we were burglarized, and none of this secret cache, though rifled through, was deemed worthy of taking.
It’s sobering to realize that how I treat my possessions in the real, physical world are probably the way I treat the contents of my own mind.
Ideas, plans, random thoughts all get filed away somewhere. Some things are filed away very neat and tidy, others, not so much.
I’m bad with names of people I just met, and I’m also bad with “where did I leave that new shirt?”
I definitely see a correlation between my “thing” drawer and that area of my mind that is designated for items of weird or amusing value.
For example, when I was ten or eleven, my mom was working on the TV show Hawaii Five-O and we got to come along. I can recall only a few things about that trip, but one particular item that, almost fifty years later, is still carefully preserved in my mind: a silly version of Streets of Laredo as sung by the Smothers Brothers, which I heard on the airplane on my way to the island.
Maybe you’ve heard it; sung and played earnestly by Tom and Dickie, it begins in the traditional way:
As I walked out on the streets of Laredo,
as I walked out on Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in white linen,
all wrapped in white linen and cold as the clay.
Then, a slow and subtle shift:
“I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.”
“I see by your outfit that you’re a cowboy too.”
We saw by our outfits that we were both cowboys.
If you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too.
It was something I immediately treasured.
I could go on and on about why this is a great piece of writing, how elegant and persuasive, but that’s not really the point. It was gorgeously funny then, and I knew at the time that It’s an evergreen joke, one that will be funny until no one is left who can recall the actual lyrics to Streets of Laredo.
Just last night, when Tamra and I were practicing on our ukuleles, I sang her that version of the song.
I had those lyrics close at hand, in that special part of my universe where I put things that may or may not ever have any use, but are just too charming to dispose of.
I imagine we all have similar files in our minds, just like most of us have actual drawers in our home that hold “treasures” we can’t seem to part with.
The contents of my mental collection, curated solely by myself, are culled from my life and experiences, from utterances, jokes, ideas and thoughts that tickled me somehow, or brought me some relief.
It’s not a big stretch to say that probably no two people have the same collection of interesting tidbits, although many will be shared.
What sorts of treasures does your collection contain? I bet there’s some great stuff in there.