Cleaning out my office: A potpourri of stuff I saved

Posted in blog post on January 24th, 2010 by Merrill Markoe
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Because I am a writer, I am always at work. What I mean is that I regard everything that comes toward me as potential subject matter.  And although I am not a hoarder, my fascination for the show “Hoarders” on A&E probably comes from my own tendency to save stuff in case I ever need it as a detail , if not a topic, for something I am going to write. I guess its kind of a relief to see how far I am from a worst case scenario. Nevertheless, my office is always a mess.  And not only because I am not tidy. Its because I save  tons of articles and pamphlets and books on surfaces around me, thinking I am going to need them someday. Then when that day comes ,  I never  find them because they are buried in a file (or a pile) called “Ideas for Stuff.”

When I first met the man with whom I am currently sharing what I laughingly refer to as my life, his solution to my problem was to have me hang everything up in the guest bathroom. Here is the result of that. It was a good idea but there is no more room on those bathroom walls .

So today I am pretending to clean my office. I am trying to throw out books that are hurting my soul because I bought them and know I am never going to read them. Its not that hard for me to throw out clothes I never wear. I should be able to do it with my unused subject matter collection. Therefore, in the interest of encouraging myself to  discard some of this stuff, I am going to write a few words about some of them now.

1.The book: Extended Massive Orgasm: I bought it because …come on. But I just opened it up to a page at random and read this sentence:”Remember that the sensation in your genitals is the most important thing for you to concentrate on.” Um…I kind of think I knew that. I need shelf space.

2. Ann Chamfort’s Great Book of Secrets: Once, about ten years ago, I subscribed to a metaphysical newsletter  under the name Zontar Mozinky because I wanted to see what mailing list bought the name. And I was richly rewarded. I got special personalized mail for Zontar Mozinky for many years, always offering him amazing prophesies of coming riches. I also got this book as a bonus offering. The secrets are mainly magic spells. For instance Prosperity Pasta Sauce: “full of ingredients that bring prosperity and riches: tomatoes, onions,basil ,dill, marjoram and pine nuts. It also contains garlic and cumin for protection from theft. The moon shapes of the zucchini and shrimp will bring you luck.”( I had forgotten that the reason my house has not been foreclosed on is that I always have onions, basil, dill, marjoram and pine nuts on hand. I guess the fact that the basil is pretty moldy isn’t a deal breaker.)

3. The Brainy Echidna: (from the New York Tiimes)  “They are one of the most pacifistic of mammals.” Dr. Rismiller (of the University of Adelaide) said, “Nobody bothers them. They don’t bother anybody. There’s a lot we could learn from them”

And in that level head sits a mighty brain. Among humans, the neo-cortex that allows us to reason and remember accounts for 30 percent of the brain. In echidnas that figure is 50 percent…  To reach them you must hike in to the highlands of Australia on treacherously steep and slippery terrain where it rains 275 inches a year… “If you hold them against yourself, they’re friendly and they won’t struggle,”said Mr. Opiang (founder of the PapuaNew Guinea Institute of Biological research.)”

Damn. I want to hike in to the highlands and hold echidnas against myself.

4. Regarding the disappearing/reappearing nature of duck phalluses: (from the NY Times) : “Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear the next spring….A bird phallus is similar-but not identical -to a mammalian penis. Most of the time it remains invisible, curled up inside the bird’s body. During mating, however, it fills with lymphatic fluid and expands in to a long, corkscrew shape. The bird’s sperm travels on the outside of the phallus, along a spiral shaped groove, into the female bird.” (Also: “97% of bbird specie have no phallus at all.  Most male birds just deliver their sperm through an opening.”)

(Who knew that the book I mentioned in #1. was possibly written by a duck.)

5.An article from the NY Times that defines EDNOS, a word I have never heard before.  Its an acronym for “Eating disorders Not Otherwise Specified.” “Ednos remains the nation’s most common eating disorder.”

6.An article from the NY Times about OCD in animals.:” 8% of dogs- five million to six million animals- exhibit compulsive behaviors. Males with the problem outnumber females three to one in dogs whereas in cats the ratio is reversed.” There’s something to be learned from this.I am not sure what.

7. Snackertainment: I have been saving pamphlets and entire magazines on this topic since…(wait for it) 1990. I can’t bring myself to throw away the physical evidence of such a hilarious new word.  In this photo we see Snack Food Association President Jim Shuflet presenting the Top Crunch Award  for snack promotion at SNAXPO ’90.

Well, back to cleaning. I think this blog solution to my problem has not been the raging success I had hoped. Because I can already sense that I am not going to be able to part with my information about the echidna, or my SNAXPO souvenir.

I also might need to make prosperity pasta someday. Perhaps after my extended massive orgasm.

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5 Responses to “Cleaning out my office: A potpourri of stuff I saved”

  1. SusanM says:

    “Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear the next spring….A bird phallus is similar-but not identical -to a mammalian penis. Most of the time it remains invisible, curled up inside the bird’s body .”

    Would that be Long Duck Dong as in Sixteen Candles?
    Your bathroom (and my whole house) don’t come close to a hoarder’s paradise. I’ve seen mild examples up close and personal.
    Your bathroom walls do remind me of Stephen Hunek’s Dog Chapel in St, Johnsbury, VT, and that’s a compliment!
    . ·http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/stephenhuneck?ref=ts

    He died on Jan.7 He had been in a deep depression after having to let go of many of his employees. All of the chapel walls are covered with years of notes from people to their dogs who had died. The place makes most people very happy,
    and his art makes me smile.

  2. SusanM says:

    I was thinking that you’re lucky you don’t have a helpful/ anal/ neatnik friend or relative to insist on helping you weed out. After it’s over, I’m exhausted but happy with the expanded space. I always wonder if I might find that I really did need that tin whistle instruction book, or the materials for making my own potato gun. I have anxiety for a while thinking about it, then I manage to fill up the space. Once again.

  3. Lucy says:

    I like the yellow socks on the echidna.

  4. Celia Wakefield says:

    How did I find you? I have worked as a Professional Organizer for the past 20 years. But don’t panic. I am turning out old files ad found some articles which made me laugh so much that I kept them. Now I know where you are on line, so out with the paper and on with the Mac.
    By the way, one rule of thumb. Do NOT toss out if the paper is unique and original. The rest you can probably find again.

  5. They seem just like hedgehogs and are one of the rare kinds of animals that has not evolved around humans or many predators, that is why they are seemingly fearless of us.