One Man’s Treasures

May 11, 2015

We’ve always heard the saying that one man’s treasure is another man’s junk or one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And if you’ll look at all the garage sales and estate sales, you’ll see just how true it is.

I remember my one and only experience putting some of my junk in my garage and having a garage sale. I was shocked by the number of people who bought the items that I was throwing out. I hadn’t even advertised it; I just put a sign on my front lawn saying that I was having a garage sale on a certain date and a lot of people just showed up to buy things.

As difficult as this was for me to believe, and I’m still shaking my head at the memory, I used to do a lot of things out of sheer boredom, namely paint huge paintings by number and then I’d buy lovely frames and hang these abominations of art in my living room. And they sold. I had even done a paint by number on black velvet that sold. That one wasn’t so bad but you couldn’t possibly describe it as art. And I wondered how the spouses of the customers who bought these things viewed these “treasures.”

Even in the best of times, I’m not a shopper. The worst punishment you can give me is to take me shopping and have me pick out merchandise that I like. It’s absolute torture. For the first half of my life, those nearest and dearest to me bought my clothes and brought them home to me to try on because they knew I wouldn’t go into stores of my own accord. And that’s why I was absolutely amazed at the number of people who showed up that day to pick through my junk.

Even now, all these decades later, I still shudder at the memory of all those people who stood out in the blazing sun waiting for me to open my garage door to let them in. Maybe if this were an estate sale I wouldn’t have been so surprised but it was from an ordinary house and I hadn’t even advertised it. I hadn’t even put up posters on telephone poles, as was the custom in those days. I had just put up a little sign on my front lawn giving the date and the time.

If anyone can explain the phenomenon of why perfect strangers would get such a delight in picking over someone else’s junk, and actually buying it, I wish they would explain it to me. For now, I just shake my head in wonder, just glad that I got rid of those atrocious paint by number paintings.

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