Brett Rants

Stuff

If I owned a bunch of stuff, I suppose I'd take pride in that. But I don't, so I take pride in that, instead.

This entire page is basically about these two pictures, this one is about mementos These are more like charms, though I wonder to what extent I will actually explain the difference

Full Disclosure

There was nothing in my middle of the road, standard, boring, average (or maybe, above average) middle class upbringing that would be a clear predictor that later in life, I would prefer a minimalist lifestyle. But then, I moved... and moved again... and again... and again... and again... and again... and so on... and so forth... so many times... that I've completely lost count. Each time thinning and sorting, losing stuff here and there, making do in transitory housing. And by the end of it all, by the time I'd become a more or less well adjusted member of the sedentary middle class once again, everything I'd owned from before, from a long distant childhood, could fit in... well, now, today, it could all fit my pocket, though I tend to use a fairly nice box designed to hold playing cards and an old tin from a bygone era that once held cough drops: one of the perks of getting sick. But I digress.

Bottom line, it's not like I own absolutely nothing (just way less than the average). And among the stuff I own, deep down at the bottom of one of the few boxes I keep in cold storage, that I hardly ever look at any more, there remain a few mementos from a distant past. I would say a rapidly fading past, but to be fair, most of the fading has already occurred; there is but the final dimming of the light, yet to remain...

Mementos

Let's start with that picture on the left. And yes, I am so directionally inept that through the first three edits of this page, I had called it out as the image on the right, but whatever.

In fact, I don't actually have these items in hand at the moment, so I am working off the photograph. So, like, when I say that black thing in the upper right looks like a rock, that would not only be a guess, but an indication that not everything in this picture is that important to me. I mean, I don't know where the hand-fork comes from, probably the flea market, as with most the Boy Scout stuff. I was a boy scout, just not a very good one. Whatever that patch is, I earned it; the rest, just bought goods, stuff I acquired sometime in my thirties. So half this stuff I could get rid of, but for those who have a difficult time throwing things out, I feel your pain. It's just that for me, the pain sets in at a much lower level. Anyhow, why don't we list the things out and see what comes to mind for each? Yeah, I thought it was a good idea, too.
Coin
Got me. Seriously, I haven't a clue how it wound up with the rest. It's worth money, though, right? So, I probably just never got around to throwing it out. I'm sure I would have spent it long ago if I could.

LeeZards
These all originate in my late thirties and forties. As a child, I had no totem animal. And by my late twenties, if I'd had a totem animal, it would have been a turtle... or a tortoise. Anyhow, for a while there, I was into collecting (and why I no longer am is a different post) and LeeZard like things were one of the items I gobbled up.

Lutheran Pin
Ah, this did come from my youth. There was a box of old mementos and trinkets lying around my childhood home. And every once in a while I could grab one... or just did. The specifics elude me. The point is, this is actually from my youth, but the only emotional attachment is that it was from my youth. Yeah, I know, great start to an awe inspiring list.

Bead Chain
These were like gold as a child. I lusted after a GI Joe type Dog Tag necklace, not so much with a Dog Tag, but just the chain. Obviously, when I got older, I just bought one, but it wasn't the same. There was a time when these things had to be earned, two inches of chain at a time, and that is what made them special. I'm sure there's an Old Man post in there somewhere about how things were better back when, when things actually meant something, when the acquiring was a struggle, part of the pleasure. Eh, clearly going to have to work on the wording on that, but you get the idea.

Black Rock
Haven't a clue... or, you know, Black Rock, Burning Man, have you been? No? Oh, excellent, then let me tell you all about the time I wasn't there. I mean, I was there, but my mind, a million miles away, so far gone, I thought I was some place else. Probably not such a bad start for a story...

Button
At a time, thirties, forties, before I got into writing and coding, I was searching for that thing to give life meaning, to make my life special. And to this end, I wore a bit of green every day for many a year, just having fun with life, working on that Existential Dilemma. And filling a vase with buttons from all the shirts that had passed through my life seemed like it might fit the bill. And seriously, I had a lot of shirts. Being a flea market goer, my closet was packed to the gills with clothing, five and ten shirts to the hanger, I had so many, along with twenty-odd pairs of shoes, and a hundred odd pairs of socks, because you can never have too many socks. Well, this be one of those-them-there buttons, from a black shirt. Oh, I liked that black shirt, remember it still, but it was nothing special in the long run.

Poker Chip #51
This being the Swim Token from the Buddy Board at my last year at Camp Mohawk for Boys. You know, like in Meatballs the movie, the camp where all the rich kids went was called Camp Mohawk, well, similar concept, only at the Mohawk I went to, the rich camp we competed against was called Camp Red Arrow. They had maid service at Camp Red Arrow, or so we believed. Anyhow, Buddy Board, Swim Token, from the last year at the camp I went to for, what was it, four years? Anyhow, the first year, the poker chips were real ceramic things, if I recall correctly. And I, also, probably had a better number. Alas, I didn't bother to swipe the token until the last year, when I knew I wouldn't be going back, a tornado having decimated the place over the Fourth of July weekend that summer. Seriously, trees falling all around, counsellors freaking out, but I, wrapped in the ignorance of youth, had not a care.

Buckle
That D shaped thing towards the center, that's from a leather dog collar that I made for my childhood friend... or stuffed animal, take your pick. His name was Doctor. And eventually, he got The Grundge. Being a Doctor and all, he knew what he was about, and handily self-diagnosed the horrible blight. Now, in case you don't know, The Grundge is like gangrene only worse: painful, horrible way to go. And since there is no cure, the only thing left to do was load up on the wine, lay down on top of a bonfire, and let the flames consume him. We call that Going Out Viking Style. He was a good friend. And the buckle, rusted and tarnished from the fire, looks like nothing, but it's, perhaps, the most valuable (i.e. meaningful) item in the picture. I probably should figure out what to do with it. Stashing it at the bottom of a box does mean that in time it is just going to get thrown into a dumpster (or metal recycling bin), which, you know, not the way to end it. So, yeah, I'll have to figure something out, perhaps for the rest, as well.

Wheel
So, if I'm being morbid, melodramatic, and overly focused on the end game these days, I'll explain it all away by saying my father passed away recently (assuming 'passing on' is a good euphemism for kicking the bucket and/or being as dead as a fucking doornail). But back in First Grade or something, my father helped me build a Pine Wood Derby race car. And this is all that remains: a wheel. And that, too, is fitting. That car took first place. Oh, I carved it, but it wasn't the carving that trounced all comers. We, I, under my father's guidance, I do think I did most of the work, but under his exacting specifications, I sanded the tire nails down until they were silky smooth; and then, lubricated those suckers with graphite. That race car flew! He won! Er, that is to say, I won. My father knew what he was about when it came to beating other kids fathers at that old Pine Wood Derby game!
In the end, I really should do something about that collar... and the rest. But, like I said, not in my imediate possession at the moment. So, I guess, I can push that off for another day, week, month, or year, just like I've been doing for the past few decades.

same image as before, this is what is described above other same image, described below in text, it is what this page is all about
same as before

Charms

The difference between a memento and a charm? Well, for one, I suppose, it would have to do with when and how they were acquired. The other would have to do with the use. Please see Eddie Takosori's Divining the Broken Heart if you would like more information concerning the proper use of a Charm, Rune, or whatever you want to call them.
Dice
Eh, these would be the easiest. I played quite a bit of Slaughter Quest™ as a young lad. And in that-there game, there is much rolling of the dice. I had quite the collection. I don't know if any of these came from that time period. But then, yeah, the two black ones did, as did the translucent one. So, probably the other one as well.

Elephant
This came from my grandmother; though, I don't know if she gave it to me...

Mood Ring
The chemicals that change color wore off long ago; perhaps at about the same time my grandfather passed away. Once again, I doubt he ever knew that one day I would own this... or that it had the least bit of emotional significance to him. Doesn't really matter. It's mine, now. The only thing of his that I posses (if one discounts a few zeros in a bank account somewhere).

Knife
Yep, sometimes it's odd what gets lumped together. 9-11 happened. I could no longer take a harmless little knife like this onto aeroplanes whenever and wherever I travelled. And thus, it spends its life in a box.

O-Pal
A physical manifestation of the one and the same... or, that is to say, an egg looking rock polished to perfection, which if held the right way, looks very eye-like. I had one of these as a child, which I loved very much; and that I no longer possess. In a pinch, rocks like this work like crystal balls. But then, suffice to say, I'm OK with The World of Make Believe and don't ask for too much from my Magical Incantations.

Smile
And that leaves, three rocks. The first, I'll call Smile (one must name these items of power, after all) came from a girl... that I knew long ago... even if I can't remember her name... so maybe not her... perhaps, a friend. And this girl (her name on the tip of my tongue), she gave this pebble to me, having found it on the beach, cheap date, or something like that, I think it was a church activity, so a forced associated, but whatever, she gave it to me because it had a smile on it and she said I was always happy... or I should always be happy... or something like that. Huh, come to think of it, maybe it was a dude. And, I suppose, this is where I should mention Eddie, again... only, you know, as a teenager, he didn't go to my church, so probably not him, someone else, probably this girl I once knew that I had a crush on, so I kept this meaningless little pebble for all these years, because it had meaning, since it came from her...

River
A rock that I acquired during a trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. I camped overnight on a sandbar and figured I should select a souvenir from amongst the pebbles that had made up my bed. And this is the one that caught my eye, looking like a slice of the river as it does.

The Moon
Is this even visible, the emblem of the moon, writ large on the face of the stone? When I die, no doubt, this will be thrown out; and those that do will never know the treasure they behold. If there are such things as charms, which I confess to having my doubts, but if there are, then this one holds more power than all the rest combined: a magical item of lore, a treasure from a long-long time ago, as once owned by a young man, I hardly knew at all... or something like that. Perhaps in a few years, I'll go skipping stones. Or in years past, I carried this around daily. Perhaps I should start doing that again. Looking back, I do believe it brought me some degree of luck; and one can never have enough of that.

And I do believe that's a wrap. One may wonder about such a page. And at times, so do I. But in truth, it's just practice, before I do the same for a few of my father's choice effects. But, of course, his rocks, to me, will just be rocks, paper clips, as it were, in a moldy old desk drawer. So, maybe that's explanation enough as to why I'm bothing to write this page, now. But whatever...


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Ah, but what isn't shown. I mean, I've lost a lot in my life, been wealthy enough to go through countless possessions. I am an American, after all. And most of those long lost possessions that I could not begin to recall, well, for the most, meaningless, worthless. But there was an orange rhinoceros finger puppet from my adolescence that I remember fondly. I almost bought a replacement online, almost. But it wouldn't have been the same. Best to imagine Rhino made a new life for himself somewhere, perhaps in a museum or amongst the treasures on some middle-age collector's bookshelf...


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