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.

I’m Not a Helicopter Parent, I’m a Surrogate Child!

"Look at that Thompson kid! A sweater vest?! That's not how you dress for competition!! He's yours Brittany! DOMINATE his sweater-vest-wearing butt!" (Image from

Perhaps you saw the article where the annual Easter Egg hunt in my town in Colorado has been cancelled due to the over-zealous behaviors of some of us parents.  According to the article, in recent years, some of us may have been jumping into the action before the official start of the hunt to make sure our kids got the most eggs.  We sealed our children’s supremacy by finding the eggs ourselves.  It’s a good idea if you really think about it.  I mean, kids have such short legs and they can be distracted by the glory of a Rocky Mountain spring.

You need to FOCUS Brittany!  F-O-C-U-S !!!

It goes without saying that most four-year olds just suck when it comes to competition.  Studies have shown that at that stage of development, children have yet to acquire a taste for the blood of their opponents.  Four-year olds are like…babies!  They need to grow up strong and they need to grow up fast.  Kindergarten is next year and if you’re already behind from going to that mediocre preschool at Mommy’s work, you can kiss the Ivy League schools good-bye.  Then what?!  No kid of mine is going to some damn state school!

Any parent worth their salt knows the only way for a child to ever become a winner, is to have their parents win for them!  Then, when they’re holding the trophy in their stubby little hands, and watching their parents glow with pride, they will begin to understand the joys of crushing their competition (You can assume the parents are glowing with pride, we might be glowing with perspiration from hip-checking that Thompson kid’s loser father into the hedge on the way to grab those two purple eggs).

With the Easter Egg hunting dominated, our happy family can head home to count the spoils of victory.  Sadly, there’s little rest for the victors, as young Brittany has show-and-share in preschool just two days later.  Mom and I are already arranging for Chinese acrobats, flame eaters and jugglers.  The Thompson kid’s parents brought in a live ostrich and the kids got to ride it.  If they think their little twerp is going to beat our Brittany into Princeton ..well…wait’ll they get a load of the show-and-share – that’s all I’m going to say about it.

We’ll see who’s on top when kindergarten starts.  This is war, Thompson.