What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

– pair of license plates

on September 28, 2015

Yanking and shoving tools and supplies on my garage shelves into (slightly) better order, a box corner caught on something flexible yet firm. What’s fallen down there? I wondered, reaching bravely into the dim, cob-webby corner. My hand brought out not spiders (most of which are harmless, right?), but two old license plates.


I don’t recall or recognize them as any of mine; they must’ve been lost by some previous owner of our house. They failed the test of the Morris Rule (neither useful nor beautiful), and ordinarily I would’ve tossed them in our nearest recycling bin, but one commemorated the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games (which were hosted by Atlanta with the help of the rest of the state). And, practiced as I’ve tried to become at refusing it, I fell again for one of my favorite rationalizations to fail to shed: “I don’t want this, but someone surely would.”

How to find that interested collector, though? I tried posting an ad to the “free stuff” category on craiglist and had an inquiry within minutes. Success! I thought, smugly dismissing the reservations I’d felt.

… I fell again for one of my favorite rationalizations to fail to shed: “I don’t want this, but someone surely would.”

But Kenny never came to collect the plates, though I left them leaning on the mailbox post for two days. A second caller’s passionate promise of interest also evaporated overnight. Apparently a challenge of giving something away for nothing is that nothing is the value that may be put on it in our consumer culture.

John, however, was a craigslister of his e-mailed and telephoned word, and he now possesses the plates. I doubt it makes the world a better place … but maybe there’s a slight net increase of happiness. I am, at least, a few ounces lighter.

shedding style: give away
destination: John’s collection

Comments welcome … shall we call a moratorium on collecting other people’s collections?


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