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My sister had a garage sale this weekend and I took it as an opportunity to rid my closets of clutter. My kids would man the tables in my sister's driveway; they would keep 3/4 of whatever sold. The other 1/4 was for me, and would be spent on those disposable heating pads that my back would need once I got done in the closets.

Oh, what was waiting for me under the boxes and rolls of wrapping paper and other assorted junk. I had two large Hefty bags at my side; one for things that would go to the sale, one for garbage. My motto would be, what I can't sell, toss. Kill the packrat. Exorcize her. Go for broke.

A tower of VHS tapes, all of them recordings of Saturday Night Live, back in the very early 90's when it went through a rare funny stage. Gone. In the bag marked G. That was enough weight to fill the bag to the breaking point so I put it by the door and opened another.

More video tapes. A stack of children's shows, recorded from the television or other tapes, in the days before anyone would sue you for doing such a thing. Baby Songs. Oh, I remember that one. The Mommy Comes Back song.

Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She always comes back to get me
Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She never would forget me

I sang this to my daughter as a toddler, when I went guiltily back to work. I cried each time I sang it. I don't remember if I cried because I was so sorry to leave her for a few hours or if I was so damn happy to be getting out of the house to converse with adults again.

I do remember thinking a terrible thought one day while singing the Mommy song. What if mommy didn't come back? What if mommy met with a runaway car, a falling tree, a fired employee gone postal? My daughter would grow up thinking I was a liar. A dead liar. She would be in therapy for years, working out her negative feelings toward her long deceased mommy. Mommy, who never came back.

So I stared at those kids videos yesterday and thought about all the other lies and misconceptions that were wound on those little white reels. Well, no honey. Trains don't really talk. No one lives in your garbage can. There's no such place called Sillyville. Yes, I know I led you to believe that it was really Mickey and not some desperate-for-money college student that danced with you on your fourth birthday. But hey, mommy came back, right? That much was true.

I thought about keeping all those videos, giving them to my nephew, who will be three next month and is ripe for all those cute little kids singing and dancing in the world of make believe. Tossed them in the bag marked for garbage. Purge, rinse, repeat. Face the pile of your ex-husband's albums and pictures you thought you burned. Purge, garbage.

In the end, there's nothing left but Christmas and Halloween decorations. I piled them neatly in the corner of the closet and beamed at my open space, free of bad memories, half finished craft projects and games with several missing pieces.

I looked at the bags that were destined for my sister's driveway and would be taken, in exchange for a very small amount of cash, to someone else's home. Would they take good care of the Legos? Would they actually do the puzzles or play the games or watch the videos?

And if they did watch that Baby Songs video, would they also wonder what would happen if mommy didn't come back, if she were abducted by aliens or arrested for prostitution?

Probably not.


My God,we had that vid too!Watched ot once and had a similar reaction right off the bat,which was"Would this introduce the concept that Mommy 'might not' come back?"Tossed it the next day.

Mommy smokes crack.
She always smokes crack.
The people at school don't believe me.
Mommy smokes crack.
She always smokes crack.
She'd rather smoke crack than feed me.

I'm going to hell.

Shall I save you a seat?


Heya Michele

I am guilty of not visiting in awhile. Wife has been down and out with sinus surgery and if that's not a lame enough excuse I can think of others. 

Anyway, caught up today with your excellent subject matter (as per usual) (graveling here) and here are some thoughts:

  • On the garage sale: I love throwing things away. Very therapeutic. Except for when I throw something away that my wife needed (a receipt or library book or something).
  • I too felt bad about leaving the kids at day care. But I am still my kids dad (whether Dr. Laura says so or not).
  • On the kids being bigger these days--blame the farmers
  • On the Red Sox/Yankees--The fight(s) was ugly, but they don't call them rivals for nothing. Pedro is a punk, Roger is a hot head, Manny is a jerk (gee, I better take my bat with me to the mound). Zim was out of line, and the Fenway Park groundskeepers should be more professional. I'd still rather have Roger pitching a big game for me though. Heck, maybe the Red Sox can get them all thrown in jail and at least get to the World Series before finding another way to lose. By the way, shouldn't we all be getting our underground survival shelter's in order--I mean, we are, what, just 3 games away from a Cubs/Red Sox World Series?
  • I noticed you did talk some football (Rams?) but avoided the Packers game. I hate the freaking Chiefs. They did my Broncos last week too (I was there) and it still hurts. But luck never wins Super Bowls.
  • On Rush Limbaugh. The War on Drugs is ridiculous...especially as long as we continue to sell alchohol at every possible outlet. Maybe this little thing with Rush will help the right see that the War on Drugs needs to be scaled back. Way way back, because  if Tommy Chong is in prison for just selling water pipes, than Rush should get life for actually taking the drugs and buying them illegally.
  • I sent you an interview request sometime back, did you get that? Or did you just ignore me?
  • Tried to donate to your PayPal site, but it is down, anyone else having this problem? I will try later, but who knows, you could be missing out on millions!

I have that tape! We watched it endlessly; the songs were quite singable. My favorite was "Walking, walking, walking
Seems so easy now
But I remember when I was small
And I did not know how."

David Strain, You're cracking me up.