Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Things I've Found After Spring Cleaning for the First Time in Over a Decade: an Old Body Part

There are a great many things that I have always assumed I wouldn't be good at: knitting, painting with watercolors, extreme interrogation of political prisoners, etc. And there are a great many things that I know from experience that I'm not good at: blogging frequently, cooking swiftly, writing a blog regularly, etc. However there are a few things that I know I am more than just "not good at." There are a few things that I am extremely, really, exceptionally not good at.

Throwing stuff out is one of these things. I don't know how to do it well. I don't like doing it. I am really very much not good at throwing stuff away. Spring cleaning, which by definition ought to be a yearly activity, doesn't happen a lot at my apartment. I would say that I haven't done spring cleaning in the almost nine years I've been at my latest NY apartment but that wouldn't be the whole truth.

One of the other things I'm monumentally not good at happens to be moving. On my last move I just stuffed a lot of things into vaguely labeled boxes and stored them in closets unopened. So if we drop those boxes into the mix we're pushing over ten years since I did a comprehensive, throwing-unnecessary-crap-out spring cleaning of the apartment that I have only been living in for nine years.

That has changed.

I am proud to say that my NY apartment has been officially sprung cleant. I’ve considered writing a long rambling and boring post about the existential ramifications of this spring cleaning and the reasons behind it. But for now you will be spared that post. Instead, I thought I would offer a pleasantly short picture post, the first of a possible series that I like to call: Things I've Found After Spring Cleaning for the First Time in Over a Decade.

I'm starting the series off with one of the happier discoveries; something that I thought was lost long ago, my tooth!

I've only had one cavity my adult life. It was in a wisdom tooth and on my dentist's advice I had it yanked rather than putting a filling in (hence the red circle on the side). I had always wanted to make this detatched body part into some sort of intimidating shark's tooth necklace but I hadn't seen it since moving. So you can imagine my joy at finding it. It happened to be hiding in a Ziploc bag packed away in a box marked "books and Misc" which I suppose makes sense since I imagine a disembodied tooth figures to be one of the more "Misc" things I might pack away.

The only interesting part of this discovery is just how ecstatic I was to find this tiny chunk of worn enamel. If I was in a Vegas pawn shop desperate for a stake in the $1-3 no ante, no bring in, stud game and all I had to hock was that gnarled tooth, I'd be in a lot of trouble. So on one hand it's utterly worthless.

But looking at it a little differently, you could say that in the entire entire world only 4 of these suckers exist, only 4. And the other 3 wisdom teeth are not only still attached to my jaw but they're also quite slobbery and gross. So, as a one of a kind piece, unattached and dry, it's hard to put a price on it. It's unique, literally irreplaceable, and from that standpoint utterly priceless.

It successfully straddles the line between totally worthless and completely priceless at the same time. I hadn't seen it in so long that I thought it had disappeared forever. And while finding it didn’t change my life in any actual way, for some reason it did make me extremely happy. I guess it's just comforting to know that this part of me will always be a part of me. As it turns out I am not big on throwing away priceless artifacts.


number12 said...

Mike: As infrequent and short at your posts are, they are still better than nothing. Thanks for sprung cleant. I will try to work that into a conversation for the rest of my life, but I doubt that I will ever be able to do it.


Doctor Z said...

Just read the blog for the first time in months, and I'm loving it! Excellent summary of 2008, in Xmas cookies, and thanks for the shoutout...Post more!