This weekend I embarked on a project I had been putting off for... let's see, I've lived here nearly four years, so... nearly four years: Cleaning out the office.
Wait, it gets even more exciting.
The office--AKA my spare bedroom--houses my workstation, two bookshelves containing among other things my Cheers trivia game, my old computer desk which has been turned into more shelf space, my old computer, some mostly unpacked luggage, an ironing board which is half covered with articles of clothing which I would estimate number around twenty mostly consisting of long-sleeved shirts still unironed from last winter, and last and most obstructively, four boxes that had been sitting along the north wall of the room since I moved in.
Trust me, it was messier than it sounds.
The centerpiece of this undertaking were the four boxes. Like a cardboard Stonehenge, they served as a constant reminder to all who entered--which was mostly just me--of my procrastination. This was not a task that I fancied (as evidenced by said procrastination).
And so with a modicum of determination, I opened the first box. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a regular-sized sled and five well-kempt New Kids--on the cover of my New Kids On The Block Christmas cassette!
(Counter-clockwise from bottom: Joey, Danny, Donnie, Jordan, and Jon--he's a Sagittarius.)
I had been looking for this for years! And now the search for a working cassette player begins.
Well, things were really looking up. So after opening the case, browsing through some of the lyrics and singing a few bars of "This One's For The Children," I proceeded.
The first box contained the usual things you would expect to find in storage: books, TV Guides, an unopened envelope which when opened revealed a thank you card for a graduation gift I had given... in 1993.
Also included were several of my folders and notebooks from college. Inside those were literally hundreds of lyrics that I had scribbled down, notes that I had passed back and forth with a girl in Music Theory freshman year, and lists. Lots and lots of lists.
There was a list of the 42 most fun days in high school, a list of 29 apartment rules that I'm pretty sure I made well before I ever had an apartment, and a list of a thousand songs that I had made out when Little Joe bet me that I couldn't name a thousand songs. Won myself ten bucks. Not bad for nineteen pages, handwritten, front and back.
There was also a list of 75 qualities to look for in a girl. It began with the line, "The perfect girl to marry would be a girl who..." These ideal qualities included:
#3. likes the Naked Gun movies.
#8. has a good, nice plump but not too big butt.
#14. likes Married...With Children. (Clearly, a few of these are still applicable.)
#16. has heard of Tom T. Hall. (That always knocked a lot of girls out as I recall.)
#19. doesn't eat a lot.
#35. would rather watch an Alabama football game than have sex. (Well, that goes without saying.)
#44. doesn't call your car a grocery carrier. (A definite deal breaker.)
#46. always cuts the grass. (It's possible that I was watching too much Married... With Children at the time.)
#72. knows how to play rock, paper, scissors. (The foundation of any solid relationship.)
And #'s 10, 17, 25, 32, 42, 51, and 57: looks like Brandy. (I may have had a crush.)
You know, compared to this, I actually seem mature now. Me! I know, scary.
And then there was the top secret Top Fifty list, typed out and dated, 3/17/94. This was a list of the fifty hottest girls we knew, compiled by LJ, Ben, me and my ex-roommate late one night at a Motel 6. The rules were that at least two of the four of us had to have seen the girl, and at least one of us had to be able to talk to her. We stayed up until at least 2 or 3 AM finishing the list. I still remember us tossing a Nerf basketball and hitting Ben as he kept trying to fall asleep before the list was done. Afterward we swore each other to secrecy. So, I'm not even really supposed to be telling you any of this.
Wow, I feel like I just betrayed the divine secret of the ya-ya brotherhood, whatever that is.
There weren't too many noteworthy items in the rest of the boxes: three bicycle inner tubes for the bike I no longer have, at least five shirts and two pairs of pants I had received as gifts that still had the tags on them, and a Tupperware container of chocolate candy. Let me reiterate here. Four. Years.
Still, I pressed on, sifting through the pieces of my past, cringing at some items, laughing at others. And then it happened, I found the proverbial crown jewel of my excursion. Behold, the jam shorts I sewed in 8th grade in Home Ec:
I still remember going with Mom to pick out the fabric, which to this day is the only time I've ever been inside a fabric store. I remember realizing too late that I had sewn in the elastic waistband all twisted--which is probably a good thing because as a guy, you don't wanna be too good at Home Ec. And from the looks of the nearly worn-through seat area, I must have worn them a lot. Which could help explain my girlfriend drought which extended into 9th grade.
My office is much cleaner now, the four cardboard boxes having been condensed down to a single plastic tub. I threw a lot of stuff away this weekend, and will be taking some more to Goodwill. But on the bottom shelf of one of the bookshelves is a shoebox with a couple of folders in it.
"Remember when we said, girl, please don't go, and how I'd be loving you forever? Taught you 'bout hangin' tough, as long as you got the right stuff..."