Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Salvation from Ugly Clothes

Have I ever mentioned that I tend to keep everything?  It’s amazing how much crap I have stored in my small 2-bedroom apartment.  I mean, you wouldn't necessarily know it just by coming in, because we keep things presentable, but if you were to poke around?  Hoo-boy.

Sometimes I just re-purpose things.  Like my old 1997-era word processor, that’s been boxed up since the late 90s?  It’s a table now.  Once upon a time, I needed something to put stuff on, so I threw a tapestry over top of it and voila!  A place for my crap.
The Christmas tree is on top of the box-table.

See, back when I escaped from the Ex in 1997, I felt the need to start writing again.  The problem was that I didn't know the first thing about computers and had never even seen a Windows screen or the Internet.  So I bought this word processor, which was basically a typewriter with a CRT-screen.  

The unit had zero memory; you had to save all your work to floppy disks.  But you could write and edit on-screen, which was just a huge benefit for me.  You could also do rudimentary spreadsheets.  Then you’d press and your document would automatically type itself.  And I don’t mean with an inkjet printer… I mean a real typewriter would type out your document like one of those old Player Pianos.

I used it for a couple of years, until after I started working at my present job, and learned how to use a Windows-based PC with a mouse.  When I bought my first PC in 1999, the old word processor became expendable.  And a table.

Pinky finally got tired of the thing being in the way and decided we needed to get rid of it.  Not wanting to clutter up a landfill with it, I wanted it donated or recycled.  I was really leaning toward “recycled,” because I couldn't imagine a situation where a charitable organization would be able to use this thing.  I mean, I've read that they won’t even take Windows 98 PCs any more.  Just to be a hell of a guy, I included a handful of unused floppy disks.

Somehow, though, Pinky managed to get the Salvation Army to come out and pick it up, along with an old spare VCR I have.  (She was sick of looking at that too.)  I think what she told them on the phone was that I had a computer and a DVR.  She scheduled them to come out last Saturday, sometime between 10 and 3.  Or maybe she told them about the floppy disks.

Since they were making the trip, I figured I might as well go through my clothes as well.  Heaven knows I could use some room in my closets.  So I put on my miner’s helmet and ventured into the depths of my closets, in search of donation-worthy clothing.

The stuff I pulled out generally fell into two categories:

1)  Stuff that was so ugly I will never, ever wear it again.  Example: this sweatsuit combo.

Back around 1987 or so, my luggage was stolen from the carousel when I was coming back to Cleveland from my parents’ place, and one of the items I lost was my favorite sweatsuit.  I think someone got me this monstrosity as a replacement, and I might have only worn it once or twice, ever.  And even so, I still had the fucking thing in my closet.  I tried it on, just for shits and giggles, and it still fit.  (It had a LOT of elastic.)  For a moment, I thought to myself, “How can I throw this out?  I can still wear it around the house.” 

Then I moved, like, a millimeter, and I remembered why I never wore it.  It was made out of “parachute pants” material, so every time I moved, it would sound like I’m wearing wax paper.  The people upstairs would be able to hear me moving around the room, like someone was sanding the floor.

2) Stuff that I can no longer cram myself into and am unlikely to ever again.  Example: my Steelers Zubaz pants.

I didn't care that they were ugly… that was kind of the point.  I used to wear these back in the mid-90s, but I remember that they were a mojo death wish.  I think the last time I had them on, the Steelers lost Super Bowl XXX, and I never wore them again.

Then last year, while the Steelers were in a losing streak, I though maybe I’d give them a try, and work on some “Reverse Mojo.”  Problem was that I could barely get them up one leg, let alone over my big ass.  So, out with the Zubaz.

While I was at it, I considered donating my Steelers boxer shorts for the same reason: bad mojo and inability to squeeze into them without cramping “the boys.”  But I ended up keeping them, just so I can continue to say that I own Steelers boxer shorts.

All told, I assembled four garbage bags worth of clothing to donate.  (They were folded, too, for space-saving reasons, not just wadded up.) 

It would have been even more, but I still have a wardrobe moving box full of stuff buried in Pinky’s room.  I haven’t opened that box for years now.  Another couple of years, and I can use it as a fashion time capsule… “What NOT to Wear: The 1998 Edition!”

So after all that fuss, and looking out the window for the Salvation Army truck, they ended up calling me around a quarter to three, to say they couldn't come that day.  I rescheduled for Thursday, but I’m still pretty irritated about it.  Just for that, I should include my “Heathen” tee shirt, just to show that I am beyond Salvation. 

And I’ll have to make sure they know I have a strict No Returns policy.


Valerie said...

There's a guy at my job that might have stolen that track suit from you. I can hear that mofo coming a mile away.



bluzdude said...

It's like an ugly bell tied around our necks. Mothers should clothe their kids in this stuff, so they always know where they are.

Cassie said...

Holy crap! I was getting close to calling Hoarders on you.

You can call the Veterans truck, too, instead of Salvation Army. Doubt they'd leave you waiting since they're always begging for donations. And it goes to old men and women who would LOVE that wind suit.

red pen mama said...

1. You are just like my husband. He's got everything he's ever owned, ever, and between our house and his parents', it's like Hoarders deluxe here on the compound. That sewer backup did us a favor (ME, ME a favor) in that he finally had to start ditching stuff. Now if I could get him to clean out his closets... and the office... The room we would have!

2. I had one of those CRT wordprocessor things my freshman year in college. If I recall correctly, it was a graduation gift from my parents.

Anonymous said...

That CRT word processor is wild. A type writer hooked up to a CRT screen. It was probably the leading technology for a month-and-a-half.

And that track suit. Didn't they wear something like that on Napoleon Dynamite? Classic.

Sort of makes you want to go to the Salvation Army store just to spy out who buys it.

Deb K said...

Our first computer was a Xerox 8088 with no hard drive and you needed to use a 5.5 inch floppy desk to boot the computer. It was a hand me down from my brother in law who just took it back to save as an antique. Have you checked ebay to see whether any of those CRTs are for sale as antiques? Even if you decide to donate it at least you can get a more generous write off (even though the IRS is reducing the charitable contribution deduction). My husband keeps everything also. We were so cluttered that last year we hired a de-clutterer (Niecy Nash used to have a show on TLC or Discovery to go in and clean up and organize peoples' homes -- just like her minus the flower in her hair and the designer and handyman. Anyway, that finally prompted him to clean out his closet for the first time in 15 years, I kid you not. There's a local store near me called Community Aid that we donate to and we buy from as well.

bluzdude said...

That’s a good idea. I’ll remember that in case I get any blowback from the SA.

bluzdude said...

I joke about the word processor now, but it was a godsend at the time. Like I tell anyone that wasn’t around for the typewriter era, on-screen editing was a groundbreaking advancement. The mere ability to revise without re-typing instantly made me a better writer, because I didn’t have to weigh the benefit versus the time needed to edit.

And the way I used to write… longhand on notebook paper, then type up later… My original copy would be a mess, with carets and arrows going every which way, and whole paragraphs crammed into the margins… it made it a real challenge to type up.

I’d stack up 4 or 5 record albums on the turntable and then sit down to pound out my manuscript. Typos were a bitch to correct, especially before I got one of those fancy electric typewriters with a correction ribbon. My college years were filled with many writing-intensive classes. If I had a word processor back then, I’d have had so much more time available for chasing girls and drinking beer.

As far as the “hoarding” goes, I don’t know about Dan, but I think that when you come from a background where you didn’t have much and money was tight, you learn to take care of your stuff, and not discard it lightly. I’m not saying that I grew up deprived, but we weren’t loaded and I learned the value of a dollar pretty quickly. If I lost or broke something, I didn’t get another one.

And I could squeeze an awful lot of drug store candy out of my little allowance, I’ll tell you that right now. I never bought candy bars… at 25 cents, I thought they were a rip-off because they were gone in a couple bites. I’d always by things like Sweet Tarts or Spree, or Lemonheads or Boston Baked Beans… all of those would last a while if you ate them individually or a few at a time. Charms Big-Pops were also a favorite.

When I moved out on my own after college, finances were always tight. You certainly aren’t raking in the dough when you work retail. So I never looked at anything I had as “disposable,” until it was no longer in good shape. Unfortunately, that left plenty of time for styles (and my dimensions) to change.

bluzdude said...

They had regular PCs available back then, but A) they cost much more than I could afford to blow on one, and B) I had no idea how to work one.

I bet the SA moves a lot of those kinds of clothes around Halloween, when people might want to dress up ‘retro.’

bluzdude said...

Because I don't have any deductions and always use the short form, the tax write-off won't help me at all. I'm just glad to get it out of the house.

Jessica R. said...

This post would have been infinitely better if you attempted to model those clothing items. Ah well, maybe next time! ;)

bluzdude said...

At the time, I was in a hurry to get my stuff bagged up before they came to pick it up. I was lucky to get a pic or two. Obviously in retrospect, I could have taken all week.

(No, I'm not not unbagging anything now...)

Cassie said...

OH YES. Model 'em baby!

bluzdude said...

You seriously want to see my.... Um, what's the male equivalent of camel toe? That would be a crime against humanity. And gonadity.

Anonymous said...

Floppy Disks? Like the really floppy ones?

A VCR isn't that impressive. Do you have a BETA?

red pen mama said...

Actually, I think what motivates Dan in part is the house fire his family had when he was 12. He's got, literally, in a box somewhere in our basement (the part that wasn't touched by the flood of crap) the shirt he had on his back when they got out of the house. They didn't lose the whole house, but they lost a lot of stuff. That really affected him.

there are somethings that I think you hold onto. But old clothes that you'll never fit in again and obsolete technology? Nah. Save room for kids' toys and books! ;)

Facie said...

My college roommate had that same WP (or something close, since this was 1993). I wrote my "Pittsburghese" linguistics paper on it (scored an A!).

Many, many years ago, I wore my Steelers PJ-like bottoms and boxer shorts in public. Back in the '90s you could get away with that crap, you know before "People of Walmart came out." :-)

mary Ann said...

OOOO NOOOO NOT THE STEELER ZUBAZ! You should have asked me first.
Have you checked out the Salvation Army display window?
If you see somebody wearing the Zubaz pants, tell them they're your Mother's.

bluzdude said...

You don’t have to convince me… I did get rid of that stuff. And I don’t even have kids to accommodate! (Pinky is another story, as far as accommodations go.) But I will admit to keeping some things I know I’ll never wear again. I have a drawer in my wardrobe where I keep old concert tee shirts and college gear. I probably couldn’t even fit my shoulders into that stuff any more, so they’re just keepsakes. I mean, how could I possibly get rid of an AC/DC tee from 1985, a Thorogood softball jersey from 1988 or a Blackfoot tee from 1984? Can’t do it, although maybe I’ll send the AC/DC shirt to my nephew, who has demonstrated uncommonly good taste in music.

The story with Dan makes complete sense to me. I can totally see how he’d tend to keep stuff indefinitely. If I can keep my “Valdosta” shorts from 1979, I’d certainly keep the clothes I had on my back from a devastating fire.

bluzdude said...

No, these were the 3” disks in the hard plastic covering, but I know what you’re talking about. I used to use the 5” bendy ones too, when I worked at the record company home office.

No, we never had a betamax. Even at the time they were around, I knew they were not going to last. I wonder if people still have those laserdisc players, that played movies on 12” disks. That was the “wave of the future,” right up until they got the size down to the DVDs we know today.

bluzdude said...

That’s another reason why I didn’t want to post a picture of me wearing that stuff… it could easily be stripped of context and posted as a “fashion disaster.” To avoid becoming “Bad Track Suit Guy” in the next Internet meme, I’d have to hold a sign or something that says, “This is a joke. I don’t really wear this stuff.”

bluzdude said...

I would have saved you the Zubaz, but they would have been about 9” too long for you. I guess you could have sewed the ends shut and called them “feet pajamas.”

Maria said...

I am in love with Goodwill. And not Good Will Hunting, but the store. My partner saves everything and I mean everything. An ad for Rogaine. ("There's this guy at work who might want it.") Her books from college/grad school. She is 53. Those books are relics. A whole table of shot glasses (she collected them in college and hasn't had a drink in years...)

The only thing I am ok with her saving is her Star Wars junk. Most of it is in unopened boxes and will be worth a fortune someday. She did make the mistake of getting me a Star Wars vase several years ago. I retaliated by giving her a mug with a photo of me with no makeup and "just woke up" face. Underneath it I had the words written: Merry Christmas, Bing. I heart you.

Whenever she goes out of town, I go through the house and box up one box of things to give to the Goodwill. She never notices because it is a small amount and I am sneaky.

BTW, this is a secret to happy coupledom. Sneakiness and lies.

bluzdude said...

Welcome to the site.

Even the Star Wars stuff… I don’t know how much more it’s going to appreciate. I’d start selling it on EBay, just to get it out of the way and turn it into some cash.

I still have a couple of my old college books too, in a box somewhere. I know I unloaded a bunch of them right after graduation, but kept a couple that I thought might be useful. I definitely kept all my class notebooks though, just for the doodles and notes in the margins.

I would love to get a mug with Pinky’s morning-face on it, because I laugh at her every morning. She comes out with severe bed-head and her eyes half closed, like a newborn kitten. Then she recoils from the overhead light, like a “mogwai.” “Light bright! Light bright!”