June 20th, 2007

The Zombie

Waste not...want help

June 18 -  Deep down, I don't like "waste."  That may be at the root of my natural tendency not only to collect, but to "save" stuff that most people would throw away.  I'm not talking about anything unsanitary, but, rather, the worthless ephemera of my life, like wedding programs and movie tickets.  It may be nuts, but I really think that it stems from an inherited Great Depression ethos.  My grandparents, on both sides, began their young families and struggling farms in the 1930's, having first grown up during the worst days following the one-two punch of the stock market crash and the Dust Bowl.  Both families had multiple kids (Dad having three siblings, Mom having two) that all had to be fed and clothed from incomes that ranged from about four to six hundred dollars annually!  Yes, eventually their fortunes sweetened a bit - Grandpa and Grandma Mundt with their farm, Grandpa and Grandma Fry away from theirs - but the prevailing lesson that both sets of grandparents passed on to their kids was "Don't waste anything."  My Mom and Dad then passed that lesson on to my sister and me, whether they'd ever really planned to do so or not.  Dad has never owned much "stuff," and what he does own (childhood toys, mostly) is carefully treasured.  He also highly valued the odds and ends of packing materials and emptied containers that he could "harvest" from his job at the hospital.  Because of this, many of my own childhood playthings were either bright orange plastic spools that once held EKG ribbon, or Lionel trains and Marx toys made decades before I was born.  My Mom is also a saver, but of different things.  She began a tradition of storing our old report cards, drawings, and even baby clothes, in carefully marked boxes.  Also, even though she lives within a mile of three grocery stores and two convenience marts, she still over-stocks a 1940's style pantry with cans of beans, pickles, and such.  From her, I got a sense that I shouldn't throw out something which may have sentimental value, and I should accumulate stuff that I may need later at a moment's notice.  Like I said, it's all about the concept of "waste," whether that be waste of bubble wrap, time, or even memories.  So, that all having been said, I hope you see the humor in a problem that I'm having.  Basically, I have reams and reams of old photocopied artwork, some dating back almost twenty years, that has burst through the area in which it was all stored.  I found it all over my office yesterday (all in good shape still, but spread around liberally, thanks to the helping paws of several very naughty cats).  Now, as I am trying to figure out what to do with what is essentially trash, I hear the voices of generations of savers calling to me  "Don't waste anything."  So, what am I to do?  Package it all back together for some future, as of yet unimagined project, or find a use for it now, or go against the grain of my upbringing and just throw it out already?  Ack!  This shouldn't be so hard!  Oh, well.  I'll figure it out...especially since I like to imagine that problems are actually opportunities (that may have struck at inopportune times).  Speaking of opportunities, I also have the opportunity, thanks to O.F.O.WOMP, and artiste, Brain Payne, to post a comment or two about, yes, pantsless comics characters.  In an e-mail yesterday, he wrote, in part -

I hope Cerebus is included in your list of "Pantsless Comic Book Characters."

Brian Payne

P.S. Any of Jeff Smith's Bone family could qualify.  But, I'm not sure if Swamp Thing would.

Thanks for the e-note, BP!  And, yep, Cerebus is scheduled for tomorrow, Bone for the 21st, and Swampie for the 23rd.  Swamp Thing may be another of those "controversial" choices, but I'll get into all of that then; I don't want to waste the topic, so I am saving it for later!  Now, here's tonight's also-controversial Pantsless Comic Book Character of The Day - Beast Boy/Changeling (when in animal form)!