Humor Non-Fiction posted March 6, 2020

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Resolution #1: Exorcise!

Dispossession Pending

by Elizabeth Emerald

After 21 years in my house, I am about to become dispossessed.  No need to cry me a river. I am not in foreclosure; my mortgage is paid in full. I am not being forced out by eminent domain; the road under construction starts three houses upstream.

My dispossession is at my own behest. I am going to divest myself, first, of my stuff; next, of its storage container; i.e. my Money-Pit, #38 Pitted-Road, Melrose, MA.

About 15 years ago I read Dematerializing: Taming The Power Of Possessions, by Jane Hammerslough. The underlying reasons Hammerslough cites for our acquiring so much stuff are not personally relevant. I’m not into flaunting the latest-and-greatest in high fashion or high tech. I lie low. I go for GoodWill, not Gucci. I don’t even own a flip-phone circa 1982, much less the genius du jour. (Mine is so stupid it can’t do a thing without its jack-in-the-wall.)
Regardless, what I do relate to is the very fact of being surrounded by stuff that doesn’t satisfy. Though I’m not demoralized in the sense of having failed to achieve my supposed needs (for status, success, etc.) through my stuff; I am, nevertheless demoralized—enervated, overwhelmed—by stuff I don’t need.
How did I get here, and how do I get out? Skip the pseudo-psychoanalysis; start with part 2: How do I get out?  Screw the how-to—just do: Get Out! Get the stuff OUT. Which will get me out—first, of my funk. And—eventually—out of my 2000-cubic-foot stuff-holder. Into a studio apartment—which will surely seem spacious sans superfluous stuff. (Try saying that three times fast.)
Rite of exorcism: With 50-gallon , triple-ply Hefty in hand, carefully approach—then seize!—each haunting specter (per list below) commanding: Demon Begone!

Dispossession of a closet
  • If it fits nearly perfectly
  • If it’s missing just one button
  • If it will look like new once it’s dry-cleaned
  • If it’s nearly as nice as the other one
  • If the tiny stain barely shows
Dispossession of a basement:   
  • If it refuses to retreat to the room whence it came (shout out to kids)
  • If it’s too ugly even to keep hidden upstairs (shout out to self)
  • If it’s awaiting the eventual (i.e. not-in-your-lifetime) departure of your grey-haired-what’s-left-of-it son
  • If it’s awaiting the imminent (i.e. in the next 10 years) departure of your spendthrift daughter  “saving” for a down payment
  • If it’s awaiting the immediate (i.e. in your dreams) departure of  yourself to a 400 sq-ft studio apartment


Thanks for Mikel Eatough for artwork: Spawn

File this under Wishful Thinking, along with all instances of its variant (i.e. exercise).

From book review ...explores the ubiquitous effort to make intangibles like love, self-esteem, success, health, happiness manifest through ownership of objects "possession-obsession" blocks creativity, stunts growth, hinders relationships, garbles communication, and redirects energy and attention away from achievement and toward the illusions and accouterments of achievement...
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