It was around 6 pm Saturday at the Dallas FanExpo, and things were winding down. Gina and I stood in line with only a dozen other people to get our photo signed by Arthur Darvill. Peter Capaldi had just gone, and I stared over at his empty table. Gina said something to me along the lines of “I hope our children are Doctor Who fans.”

I said, “Yeah, or all this shit is going to end up in a box.”

My garage is roughly one quarter full of my father’s belongings. I could consolidate it more effectively but it would still be a pile. My siblings and I sold what could be sold years ago. We’ve used the furniture that we can, hung the photos that matter most, and still there’s this heap of things too dear to throw out but not important enough to display. Consider it the Robbie Talbot Museum Archives.

Sometimes while the kids are in the bath and I’m standing in my office, I’ll pull one of his books off the shelf and flip through it. He has a copy of the Arkansas Duck Hunter’s Almanac, which I am familiar with already because customers are constantly requesting it at work (we can’t get it, people. Amazon.), signed by Rollie Remmel. I have one of his “Rollie sticks” leaning by my back door. That guy was a huge deal to conservationists. He has a big museum exhibit at the Arkansas Game & Fish building in downtown Little Rock. I only met him twice, in the 1990s, and he reminded me a bit of Burgess Meredith’s character in Grumpy Old Men.

Was this Dad’s Doctor Who? He’d probably laugh at that and say he doesn’t know. In his younger years, he may have declared this an idiotic notion. My father, like Mr. Remmel, worked for the change he wanted. Each have monuments with plaques bearing their name. Post-hospitalization Dad, a much more insightful fellow, might have said maybe. He probably would have been too kind to point out that I’m hanging out with actors instead of creating protected areas for wildlife.

I try not to think much about what’s going to happen to my giant pile of detritus when I’m gone. What is valuable will be sold, what is sentimental will be kept (if anything is sentimental) and much will be tossed. Sometimes the sentimental is sold, or tossed. Sometimes people burn everything.

My name is Bobbymandias, geek of geeks:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

In tough situations I find myself staring at my wall of photos and thinking of better times, or asking Tom what the hell I’m supposed to do, much the same way that I look at Dad or Paw Paw in the upstairs hall where I’ve hung a collection of my ancestors’ images. As a child, I thought it was strange when Doc Brown picked up his photo of Edison and yelled at it. Not so much, anymore.

I could go on Palahniukian rants about belongings. I could punch myself in the face and burn all my shit. Sometimes that feels like it would be cleansing, but if we all became therapeutic arsonists the world would be a cinder six or seven billion years earlier than its scheduled incineration.

I don’t know if I’m building anything. I don’t reckon my name will ever be on a monument other that the one that ends up over my body. I don’t know that any artist ever saved my life, really, but they’ve kept me occupied while I saved my own.

Thank you for being the soundtrack to the fight.

3 thoughts on “Junk”

  1. As a child, I thought it was strange when Doc Brown picked up his photo of Edison and yelled at it. Not so much, anymore.

    I have nothing interesting to say other than that I love this line.

  2. I have walked through hundreds, maybe thousands, of flea markets and antique shops in my lifetime. I am always struck by the personal objects that people get rid of, such as family photos, and items that surely were part of someone’s collection. I suppose that after the last person that knew you or cared about you, is gone, there is really no reason to hang onto pictures or personal effects of dead people that you never knew. I imagine that all of the things that I have spent a lifetime collecting, will at some point be dispersed among total strangers. I sit here each night, listening to the ticking of a late 1800’s mantle clock. I wish that it could tell it’s story, because there is most assuredly a story it could tell. These items that are older than me, that have been in other homes in another lifetime. My stuff will end up that way. We spend our life accumulating things that we can’t take with us, and then they end up among strangers, with a story that can’t be told. Perhaps in a hundred years, long after I am gone, someone else will be listening to my mantle clock ticking.

    1. So, I guess this makes perfect sense! The best of the best we can pass down to future generations, is a living planet. Healthy fresh waters and oceans. Protected lands and critters that swim, crawl, walk hop and fly. Along with urgent lessons on how quickly humans can and have turned our planet into largly a toxic waste dump. One gum wrapper mistakenly or carelessly tossed away counts. Correction can begin with something so small, and with this way of thinking continue on to tackle bigger issues. It is what we truly leave behind that counts.

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