I take a look at the stats of this blog from time to time. It seems that most readers these days are people who stumble across a page from my blog because they were looking for pages on something else. On the one hand, an old high school friend who I had lost touch with was able to reconnect to me. But then some of the sillier blog entries that I assumed nobody would ever end up willingly seeking out, ended up being just that.
A few years back I posted a Boy Scout camp story about DeMoulas Day. In short, I found stuff that I had saved from a weird event in Boy Scout camp some 20+ years ago, and as usual I took a photo of it, told the story and made the point of "Gee, isn't this stuff ridiculous? Well, now that I've told the story and took a photo, it's time to throw it away." I concluded the post with "There, now wasn't that a completely useless story?"
Well, if you haven't guessed by now, somebody recently found the post and asked me about it. He asked me if I still had the flier posted in the photo. I had to explain to him the same thing I explained to the barf bag collector, and tried to put it in a nice way. Not because I'm always nice to strangers; I'll treat people like shit if they're being ignorant pests. But because I realize that most people by far and large don't understand the underlying mentalities that packrats/hoarders have, and thus don't really understand why the last thing we need to hear is something that gives a feeling of regret for throwing something away.
Basically, I explained that one of the real points of this blog is to track my life as an overwhelmed packrat, and mark progress by being able to get rid of stuff. If you're a hoarder, then being able to throw stuff away without the attached feelings of "But what if I need that some day, or somebody else needs it?" is really a mark of progress. I know most people wouldn't see it that way, because it's "just one" piece of paper being thrown out. But keep in mind that I had literally tens of thousands of other pieces of paper like this saved, to the point where I could barely walk around in my home. Obviously, the majority of it had to go.
The way I see it, telling a hoarder "Damn, I wish you had saved that! Hey, do you still have that thing? Can I have it?" is rather like reading about an alcoholic who blogged about dumping a case of wine, and asking him or her "Hey, do you have any more of those unopened bottles left?" Again, I'm not saying that this reader was an idiot, or triggered some sort of relapse for me. But hopefully I've made my point.
This story does have a happy ending, though. Even though I no longer had the flier, I DID still have the full resolution version of the photo I had taken. So I sent that to him.