…one of these things…is not like the other…

Sesame Street taught me how to pick out the outlier with their catchy little “one of these things is not like the other…” tune.  I’d laugh and point at the rubber duck sitting amongst the apples – THAT did NOT belong in the group. Ducks don’t eat apples!  I feed them bread at the park.  Silly duck!

Flash forward to the present and I’m playing a bastardized version of the very same game…except this time the joke’s not on me.

Tim had to go out of town on business last April and I got bored.  My way of dealing with that was to cleanse the house of all the unnecessary things in closets, stuffed in corners and shoved in the backs of drawers that we didn’t even know existed.  My thought was – if we forgot about it for THIS long, it probably isn’t important.

I spent an entire weekend going through boxes and bags, the attic, drawers…everything was game for scrutiny.  I made a detailed list of all the items that didn’t pass the test and wound up filling ten large white plastic bags and a handful of huge department store shopping bags full of donatable items.  I stood amongst my work, hands on my hips, hair up in a loose ponytail, smiling.  I had that do-gooder feeling as I stuffed my trunk with the bags and drove over to the donation center, dutifully emptying my load and picking up my receipt for taxes.

Flash forward again to yesterday when I’m typing up the list I made all those months ago so we can get our taxes out.  The beginning of the list is pretty standard.  Shirts, slacks, a few shoes, running apparel… then I get down to the bottom…and…at some point I must have reached delirium during my weekend-long purging.  I start coming across items like: 1 Handy Gourmet “Swirl Around” (still not sure what that was…), 1 dancing/singing Xmas penguin, 1 gingerbread nightlight, 1 calorie counting jump rope, 1 wedding card holder with a heart base (who needs just ONE of THOSE?), 2 three-foot long stockings (someone either had a GREAT Christmas or a really bad one…depending on which end of those stocking they were on).

At this point, I am laughing.  Where in the world did these things even come from and how did they get in our house?  More to the point, WHY did I keep the madness going and give them to someone else to allow them a second chance?

I can picture the employees at the donation center, thrilled with such a large amount of items, diligently going through my bags, smiling and whistling away, sorting through each one, putting shirts in one stack, pants and slacks in another…then underneath the last blouse they pull out the singing penguin, closely followed by a pair of Hallmark kiss-kiss bears, three un-opened packs of stickers and the calorie counting jump rope inside of a lone outdoor wire candle holder with no candles.  

They look to the shirt pile.  No.  The kitchen items?  No.  How about the holiday section?  Maybe the penguin…

To the donation center employees: Honest, I had no idea I left you with such a random compilation of items that April afternoon but, though delayed, I do see the error of my ways and understand now that none of those things were ANYTHING like the other and the sorting task probably turned into frenzied desperation to grasp onto any kind of sound reasoning as to why the various items I delivered should go into your perfectly sensible categories.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was now a shelf in the donation center just for my bags marked “????” and a picture of my car and fuzzy image of my face posted in the break room, surrounded by a big red circle with a line through the middle, memo at the bottom stating “REJECT & DENY”


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