Friday, February 22, 2008

Pool supplies

Warm, overcast (mid-40s)

Here’s a scenario for you. It’s 1982, and you take care of a camp. Your camp has a pool, and you want to accessorize it, so you order catalogs from the leading pool supply providers. Maybe you buy stuff, maybe you don’t; either way, you shelve the catalogs for future use. You have limited storage space, so when they send you new ones in 1983, what do you do with the old catalogs?

Apparently, if you’re the previous caretaker at this camp, you keep them. You keep every year of every company until you leave, for some hapless assistant to find in 2008. I found them shoved in several milk crates, mixed with sensitive personnel information and food budget receipts. And I thought, This is hoarding. I kick myself for keeping this dumb little ceramic cat a distant uncle gave me in Sweden, but at least I’m not keeping completely useless pool supply catalogs. Was this caretaker thinking of writing a history of chlorine delivery systems? Did he get a good chuckle every time he saw a cover featuring early 1990s hot pink ad design?

Sorting through this stuff made me seriously think about how much junk exists in the world. For every guy who keeps pool supply catalogs, there must be a thousand people who keep every bank statement they’ve ever been issued, every envelope they’ve ever received. And will these people determine what historians think of 2008? Is history based on the hoarders? Will someone someday find a bunch of pool catalogs and think we were aquatic mammals?

NOPE! Because I recycled them. Ha.


marc said...

blub, blub.

Michaele said...

Oh, my goodness. That's funny. I can picture the old caretaker being a kind of packrat (in addition to being another kind of rodent).