Garage Sale Table of Treasures

I recall many years ago, saddled with small children and the very limited social life which came with them, I worked in an office.  Somehow, there came a Saturday night when no one was to be at my home but me.  I couldn’t squander such a rare opportunity.  I went from cubicle to cubicle in the weeks before recruiting my colleagues for a night of drinking, raucous humor and poker – a festival of male bonding in a time in my life when such things were as rare as hens’ teeth.

The weekend finally came.  I was psyched (old-school guy talk – “psyched” is how guys felt about going to cool bars, buying hot rods or finding $50 in the pocket of an old sport coat – not that I’ve ever done two out of three of those things).  I straightened up the house, set up the dining room table, bought some beer, and even found a deck of playing cards without pictures of Old Maids on them.  After what seemed like an eternity, the doorbell finally rang.  It was one of my buddies from work.  I welcomed him in, got him a frosty malt beverage, and we sat down amid the bowls of chips and made small talk as we waited for the others to show up.  After more than another hour had passed, it began to be clear that no one else was coming.  My lone party participant made his graceful exit and I sat there, shuffling the cards and simmering.  After a while, I poured the corn chips back into their bags and put them away.  The kids would be home the next day and would certainly enjoy eating them.  I rearranged the furniture and put the house back into wife-and-kids mode, dumped out the last of my beer, and went to bed.

I swore that I would return to work on Monday and give those no-shows the cold shoulder they deserved.  I considered not bothering to speak with any of them about anything except work-related topics until the end of time.

Last week, I got this idea to hold a blog garage sale.  I offered to put five of my dead-draft ideas out on a virtual table for people to browse and take if they felt like it.  While baring my soul is a fairly frequent occurance on these pages, it still seemed kind of risky to show people what my bad ideas looked like.  Hell, even some of my good ideas look like crap to me.  I decided to make it more of a neighborhood garage sale, inviting any and all of my blogging colleagues to join in.  Misery loves company, so I thought that having a few others along with their dreg post ideas would soften the blow and minimize the embarrassment factor.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but some other bloggers are ‘sposed to be showing up soon. I’m sure they’ll bring lots of stuff. We’ll probably need more tables (Image by

Today, true to my word, I’m going ahead and posting the 5 dud ideas.  Much like my poker night of decades ago, I’m alone with my beer, Tostitos and playing cards.

I’m a relative newcomer to blogging, having only been at it for 6 months, so I guess I still have a lot to learn, particularly in regards to the audience participation angle.

Here are my five duds, in no particular order:

  • Complaints Department – I envisioned this being from the viewpoint of a bored, underpaid clerk at a complaints desk.  The twist was that people came up and complained about all sorts of things which there was no real answers for, like traffic, the way we end up  looking more and more like our parents, and how there isn’t anyone on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team who appears to be even remotely Irish.
  • Purgatory – What’s not funny about purgatory, right kids?  The purgatory I had in mind was the one where you’ve posted something which you labored over, but have yet to get any feedback whatosever on, except from that one oddball, who always hits “Like” faster than he or she could have possibly read the piece.
  • But Honey, These People LOVE Me! – This piece was going to be a cynical take on explaining to my wife why I spend more time trying to entertain hundreds dozens of adoring readers than I do giving her foot massages, or policing the yard for dog dootie.
  • Reflections on Mediocrity – Thought of this one after doing an admittedly mediocre job on a lecture.  While I’m surrounded by mediocrity and take great pains to point out the shortcomings in the efforts of others, looking at my own mediocrity proved to be both painful and of no interest to me (or presumably others).  Like many things we put on the table at these blog-garage sales, I’m embarrassed to take ownership at all.  It’s free, just take it and don’t tell anyone where you got it, okay?
  • Miscellany – I know, you’ve probably already got one of these right?  This is the “junk drawer” of the draft files, containing all sorts of odds and ends, dead calculators, paper clips, faded receipts, and in the case of my file, thoughts on a trip to the urologist, experiments with hitting the “formatting” button, and a reminder that a haiku is 5-7-5 (it is, isn’t it?).  This one is the biggest gamble of the whole table, but at least you’ll come away with a few paperclips and some emery boards.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll revert to the original version of audience participation, where I write and you, hopefully, read.  Then you write and I’ll read.

37 thoughts on “Garage Sale Table of Treasures

  1. Dave, I love this idea. Let me dig around in the basement and see what I can come up with…and I meant to e-mail you earlier this week but that damned day job keeps getting in my way of having fun.

  2. Dear Lord Point you had me filling up at the freaking poker game!! I didn’t have anything to share, I delete drafts for fear of publishing them my mistake. As for your garage sale I would say this: 1. I need an ending to the no show poker night. 2. I want more on Reflections of Mediocracy. I think that will be a huge Ah Ha moment for many. 3. The fact that no one submitted any drafts is a good thing. It proves that we all have insecurities about being transparent, but you were brave enough to open yourself up.

    1. As I weas writing all about the poker night, I kept telling myself that I was being a little melodramatic (which I’m prone to do). Just posting the 5 duds seemed a little weak though, so I kept the poker thing in there. It should be pointed out that poker/male bonding type stuff has long been an issue for me. The end of the no-show poker night invloved locking up, turning off the lights and going to bed.

      As for the reflections on mediocrity, it was comforting to write at first, as I was really quite disappointed in myself, but the more I tried to work on it, the more upset with myself I got. I should definitely only focus on the mediocrity of others!

      I don’t know how closely you’re following my promises of an illustration giveaway, but I’m petrified that I’ll have another instance where no one shows up and I end up arbitrarily awarding the drawing to whoever has the nicest profile picture!

      1. No no no …you must do the piece on the mediocracy, it will be brilliant. Don’t over think it…just do it. Include your focus on others.
        I didn’t know about the give a way!!! I can’t find any info…I need the info.

        1. It’s on my second page “updates, tour dates and giveaways” There was something of a frenzy of a couple of bloggers who liked my drawings. I actually put all of the drawings in one place for public perusal.

          I may get to the mediocrity piece, but it’s hard to get excited about it on some level.

  3. Oh, Lord. There is some real crap in my draft folder. Doo-doo. I had to hold my nose while reading some of it.

    I will throw this one out there: Truck crash pours syrup on Kentucky’s Buttermilk Pike.

    This little blub tells the tale of a truck crash that spilled Log Cabin Syrup. Yep, On Buttermilk Pike. I had visions of doing a whole fake “News Headlines” and captions for photos…and fake interviews with bystanders, cops and the truck driver.

    In my mind it was hilarious, and having driven on the Buttermilk Pike, I felt like I could do it justice (the twists, turns, steep grades, etc).

    Never wrote a word of it.

    1. See?! That wasn’t so hard was it? Don’t you feel better having one less un-fullfilled promise to yourself in your draft file? Of course you do.

      By the same token, now you’ve gone and negated my entire “poor-me-no-one-came-to-little-party” spiel, but I forgive you. I’d gladly have my post be proven wrong and have some company than continue twisting in the wind all by myself.

      1. There was stuff in that folder that even I could not figure out why I thought it was a good idea at the time.

        I did not mean to negate the whole pity-party, poor me thing you had going on there.

        1. Not a problem. I think I got about as many miles out of the pity party angle as I could by this point anyway.

          Gotta start working on the illustration for my “Lust” entry. I think I’m going to try to put the whole 7DS series together in some kind of e-book, though I have no idea of how all that works. Whether I do or not, it’s been a fun, interesting experience.

          1. That sounds like a good idea. I thought about tossing out the idea of putting together an anthology of all the pieces (with authors’ permission, of course), but I’m like you, I have no idea how that works and am kind of swamped right now…I may toss out some feelers in the near future.

    1. well…..if you knew how long some of them sat in the drafts folder getting musty smelling, you might feel the way I do about them. Or….Maybe this has all been an elaborate cry for attention on my part!

  4. I love your ‘dud’ ideas! Much better than the crap I have sitting unfinished in my junk drawer.

    The ‘purgatory’ one made me laugh. In the past, I’ve had posts that I labored over, some were deeply personal and hardly anyone read them. Even the crickets deserted me.

    Oh…and the people who ‘like’ your post so fast you know they didn’t read it…last night I was viewing my stats and somebody I didn’t know started randomly clicking ‘like’ on maybe 15 of my posts at lightning speed. Yeah, like they actually READ any of them. I think they figure it’s free advertising for their own blog.

    1. Well you know the old saying about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure…although to be honest, when I wrote those out, I started thinking they looked like they had some potential…but I was committed to cleaning out the drafts. I have plenty still in there, including one which has an incredible title but little else. Usually I have a decent post with a crappy title, so I really treasure that one even though it’s getting staler by the minute.

      My pity party is officially over, as k8edid has donated a clunker, thereby deflating my hot air balloon of self pity.

  5. Ha it’s funny, because one of your likes is from an oddball that hits like to everything before she reads it. But that said I love me some purgatory.

    1. A couple of people liked purgatory, which is a post which has never looked any betteer to me since I first hit the “save draft” button.

      Instant likers are long gone from my followers these days. As shallow as it makes me sound, I miss the instant applause, even if it was from someone who hasn’t even read the post yet!

      1. Yeah it’s shallow. I “like” a lot of peoples blogs, but 98% of the time I comment. Some of them are just too depressing of topics for me to comment on.

        1. “I really thought your post on inoperable brain tumors in kittens was enlightening. In addition to your informative, well-written prose, the photos of the tabby-tombstones was both evocative and sobering”

  6. I’d love to run with one of these, but I’ve got a bunch of half-written dud posts in the queue already that I refuse to give up on. You hear me? I refuse. By the time I count to ten, my muse better be here with a cup of hot tea for me and some oatmeal.

    1. I hope the muse showed up with the tea and oatmeal (steel cut oats, of course… WTF does steel cut mean, anyway?!). I hate to think of you cracking open an Adelsheid Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley before lunch.

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