THE ECCENTRIC HOLDS A FREE YARD SALE
"I stay crazy to keep from going insane. Those were the words of a song, but I believed that phrase should be my motto. If I could handle getting a tattoo that I would like for the rest of my natural born days, I guess I'd have that phrase tattooed on me somewhere. People just don't always get that about me. I have to stay crazy--call it eccentric, but please don't call me normal--that way lies real sickness. You know wearing polyester blends and keeping a day planner and all. "If I couldn't act out, dress crazy, act crazy, and just plain be my good old, let's say "eccentric" self, "I know I'd be locked up somewhere. So what if people in fancy cars stopped for a red light when I'm standing there at the curb reach over and push down the car door lock. Let them. I'd rather be living my life of freedom than their constipated lives of "I should, I should, I should." Just don't should on me I want to tell them. "But don't give away this jazzy paper umbrella. I love it. I just found it the other day. I'm keeping it for at least a week or two. Did you notice my Pippi Longstocking tights? I just found them recently too. Can't give them up yet either. "So anyhow. It's like I told that kid who asked if he could cut through my backyard. "Son, what is the use of living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a waterbed in your backyard if you have to let kids cut through your yard? No, I don't think that's gonna happen." "He seemed to get what I was saying. Glad I didn't have to spell it out for him. "I am having one of my free yard sales today. I have about one a month. I've got too damn much clutter accumulated. As I tried to explain to one of the folks who came really early, if you have too much stuff you're likely to start thinking like your materialistic. Then you get greedy to get more stuff. You want it. You got to have it. Maybe you get some useless job to better afford to buy junk you really don't even want or need, you just think you should have it because everybody else has it. You're selling your precious time for junk. Why next thing you know I'd be buying a cell phone or some other damn fool worthless product that I have no use for. I really, truly believe that. "Here take this big hunk of amethyst, mister. Somebody, I won't say who, told me you are a stoned alcoholic. This amethyst will protect you against the state of drunkenness. Just keep it with you. Keep it close to you. What do you mean you don't want it? It's free. Take it. "People are sometimes suspicious if you just give things away, but why would I charge anything when they are doing me the favor of keeping me from getting materialistic?" "Oh, you like these beads I have on? Well, then you have to take them. I have been getting too attached to them. Next thing you know I'll want more. I really believe that. "Excuse me, are you going to be here a while looking at the books? I need to go check some dumpsters now. Could you just sort of direct people who don't know what to do or what not. Just encourage them to take stuff and remind them that it's all free. Thank you, miss, thank you very much. "Yeah, I got to go. It's garbage day. I have to watch my neighbor's like nobody's business. They are likely to throw out brand new clothing, living plants, good food, books in good condition, you name it. They can't even be bothered to put the stuff in recycling. Right into the dumpster it goes. Talk about waste. Never saw anything like the waste in this neighborhood. Why don't you come help me if you're not doing anything right now? We can bring the stuff right back here and give it away. "Are you hungry? We could hit Trader Joe's dumpsters too. They always have a lot of nice fresh stuff to eat. I'm in the mood to find some citrus. "No, the police hardly ever bother me. They stay away from me because they think I'm just nuts. Crazy like a fox, I say. Whose nuts? The ones doing the 9 to 5 to accumulate more worthless junk, or me with all my sweet free time just working a little to get rid of the stuff before it grows and festers and tries to take over my life? I really believe that. "Course I work, when I want to. I work for myself as a writer. I write about any freaky old thing I want to whenever I take a mind to write about it. I follow my bliss and my bliss is my art. Everyone needs art in their lives. Everyone needs to have something in life to do that brings them joy. It's hard to call it work when I would pay to do it, but the truth is sometimes I get paid to do it by others. And the kick is I'm just doing what I want to be doing. I really think it should work like that. It was Joseph Campbell that advised people to "follow your bliss". Nobody thought he was nuts though, did they? "Drugs? Oh I used to take drugs. Didn't like them very much. They made me insane. I couldn't be wild, crazy and free on drugs like I am naturally. I was always paranoid, greedy for more drugs, and worrying about getting busted. Yes, drugs make you kind of an ugly person. I'd rather be naturally eccentric, know what I mean? "Okay, I'll take this dumpster. You can check that one. What to look for? Just anything that is still good. Don't let anything worthwhile get wasted by going to the dump when someone could still use it. There's too much poverty and lack in this country to be so wasteful. I really believe that. "Would you look at this. Do you believe they are throwing out these perfectly good children's clothes? This is a crime. There are poor children who have no clothes to wear and they are just putting them in the dumpster instead of giving them to Good Will or some place like that. What did you find over there? "Come on. Don't be shy. Nobody's watching us. They probably just think we're a couple of old bums if they are. (Laughs long and loud.) Don't you think that's funny, no? Well, it really doesn't matter what people think. Better to be yourself and be free and be happy. And serve the people. Yeah, that's it. You gotta serve the people. Bob Dylan wrote a song about how you're gonna have to serve somebody, remember it? Alright, get out of my way. I'll do that dumpster. Then let's go up to Trader Joe's. I'm really hungry now. I didn't get any lunch. "No, keep your money. I don't need to be going to any fast food joint. There's nothing they're serving that I can't find later in their dumpsters, so don't spend good money on that crap. Besides, Trader Joe's is much healthier. They throw away things that are still good and that are wrapped. It's just like going out for dinner, I guarantee you. You won't come with me then? Suit yourself, but you're missing out. "I think I'll grab a few of those homeless people who hang out by the 7-11 and get them to come with me. Those idiots don't know how to feed themselves if somebody doesn't give them a direct handout on the street. It's not always going to come as easy as that. You have to be self-reliant. You have to know how to take care of yourself. It can be a cold, cruel world. Not everybody is willing to help out their brother, you know. It's a rotten shame, but it's true. "I just about got evicted for bringing one of the homeless people home with me one night recently when it was really cold out. I knew there would be trouble with my neighbors. I was trying to get her to sneak, but she was too damned worried about leaving her cart with all her junk in it outside. We couldn't get it up the stairs between the two of us and we ended up making all kinds of noise. The neighbors all ran to their doors and got a good eye view of us working that dirty cart up the stairs. Of course, they felt obligated, just obligated, to call the landlord and tell him what I was up to. He called me and told me I had ten minutes to get rid of the woman or I would be evicted. What could I do? I was so mad and so sad, but I had to ask her to leave. I can't be looking for another apartment strange as I am. I'm lucky this guy rents to me with some of the crazy stuff I do like my free yard sales once a month. I really felt like I was backed into a corner. It was terrible. I felt just awful. "I plan to make up for it by volunteering for PADS, that's the neighborhood program that provides shelters in churches for homeless people. At least then I can tell homeless people where to go and not just walk by them like I don't see them or some damn thing. 'Let it begin with me' that's what I always say. If everyone believed that and acted on that we might just save this planet yet. I truly believe that. "I guess I'd better be getting back to my sale. I have found you have to push stuff off on people. They're reluctant to take it when its free. They think there are some strings attached or the stuff is stolen or something. You know one of the hardest sales I had was just after my wedding. I wanted to get rid of everything I had gotten for my wedding shower and from my wedding. You wouldn't have believed all the useless junk: ironing boards, wall plaques, Cuisinarts, you name it. People were afraid to even touch the junk just because it was brand new. I knew I sure as hell had no use for it. The old man and I were headed for San Francisco to hang out in a commune. What were we going to do with all those middle-class trappings? I know people meant well and all, but gee whillikers. "I'm going to go into the house and get my stereo. We need some music out here to liven things up. People aren't funky enough for this sale. That's what the problem is. I'll be right back with some George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics. We need to get down. I am going to turn that mother up to 11. "Here plug that in for me, would you? That's good. Who do you like to listen to? How about some Super Furry Animals? Do you think the neighbors would like that? Up to 11? What do you mean I'm nuts? I all ready told you I'm eccentric. Like this hat? It's my pimp hat complete with feather. I might as well wear it a minute before I give it away. Somebody will want it, just watch. "You want that CD? Take it please. CD's grow like dust balls. Put two of them together in a box, come back and you've got three. Don't you think so? I really believe that.
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