The Menagerie Box
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Even though the true meaning of menagerie has more to do with a collection of animals, I've always stretched it a bit to include all collections of varied and/or electic-natured items. In this case it is an old cigar box (I saved from the 70's, while working in the tobacco industry) filled with years of undisgarded items collected for the purpose of using....someday. This box is only one of many collection examples I possess; however, one that is left over from my many years of teaching. It also only represents a potion of the contents in the box--in order to show the variety. Long before I was a teacher I was a 'saver'. I hate the term 'Pack Rat', because it represents someone who is dirty, disgusting, and worst of all--unorganized. I have always collected things, and some things have even been the typical collector's type items like: coins, stamps, cards, box tops, gum wrappers...etc. I'll even admit to being a bit of a romantic---saving anything with sentimental value. Yet, the things in my Menagerie Box represent items that have both symbolic and real value. For instance: The coins are ones that were tossed at me by students who heard I still picked up loose change from the ground. (Heh, who's laughing now my little beauties?) The rest are items I either found, were left behind by someone, left over from a project, or given to me by someone who didn't have the patience to store it. However, as far as differenciating between a saver, a Pack Rat, and even a Hoarder, for me everything has its place:Tubs, boxes, containers, coffee cans, baby food jars, tobacco cans and cigar boxes, shoe boxes--in attics, basements, closets, sheds, under the bed.....organized and out of sight. Mostly everything is labled, identified, organized, and categorized; however, something is just a little bit different with the Memagerie Box. Maybe it's the adventure of digging through it to find that special screw left over from a 1986 science project that I need all of a sudden. Maybe it's because I like to rummage my hands through my own personal buried treasure once in a while, just to reasure myself it's still there and that I am the king. Maybe when someone else needs a left-handed nailclipper, and I can reach into my bag of tricks and pull it out, raise it into the sky, and shout 'How do you like me now"--and be the hero just for once brief moment in time. Maybe I'm just a cheap ol' bastard who's just too damn lazy to drive to the store. Maybe it's all of the above, and it's just too damn much fun to be anything else. PS: If you see something you need, now's a good time to start a box of your own. Thanks for lookin' though. JH
Also by JamesHarmon McQuilkin
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