My name is Bob, and I’m a pack rat

My name is Bob, and I'm a pack rat By Bob Karolevitz My days as a pack rat are numbered � if not over.

For years Phyllis has railed at me for bringing home discarded books, bolts, bottles and boxes full of assorted junk. At auction sales I have been a sucker for the too-numerous-to-mention stuff.

Now I'm reformed (or reforming), and so Phyllis can ease up on her diatribes about my weakness, I've sworn off collecting.

Actually, one of the problems was that I found myself running out of space. The basement, garage, storage shed and the barn stall that was allocated to me were bulging with odds and ends of questionable value. My office was full to overflowing, too.

The only answer was to cease and desist, but it's not easy to overcome an ingrained habit!

Packratitis is a terrible disease for which the only cure is total abstinence. You can't take a shot for it or buy a potion at the drugstore. There is no support group called Pack Rat Anonymous. The remedy is to quit cold turkey all by yourself.

I suppose the turning point in my case came when Phyllis told me to straighten up the basement before the furnace man came for the annual tune-up. As I stumbled over old paint cans, leaky garden hoses, tools which had seen better days and buckets of flea market rejects, it suddenly dawned on me that I had gone too far with my obsession.

Books I was going to read some day were mildewed beyond repair. Anything that could rust, did. Underneath a pile of worthless rummage, I found my old Army footlocker. I wondered where it had gone.

It was obvious, even to me, that I had taken my fixation to the extreme. I'm now trying to reverse the process.

Phyllis is delighted, of course. She was never overjoyed to see me come home with somebody else's castoffs. I tried to explain to her that I was a victim of my Depression-era upbringing, but my attempts at justification fell on deaf ears.

"Not everyone who grew up in the 1930s has your malady," she said. "I know lots of septuagenarians who throw things away instead of saving them."

She really knows how to hurt a guy!

At any rate, I'm now trying desperately to overcome my affliction, and I think I'm making progress. For instance, just the other day I went to an auction sale and didn't buy a thing, even though there were some swell doodads to bid on.

I kept my hands in my pockets and went away with a feeling of accomplishment. I may not have whipped my ailment completely, but I have made a good start.

I'm now sorting and disposing instead off collecting. Fishing equipment which hasn't seen water for years has got to go. The same is true of mashies, niblicks, and midirons which I think date back to Ben Hogan's time. I've also got lots of old horse harnesses, picture frames (without pictures), obsolete electrical and plumbing fixtures and hoes without handles.

It's an end of an era, that's what it is!

Sometimes I wonder if a reformed pack rat will be like a reformed smoker. So far I haven't exhibited strong anti-amassing tendencies. They may come later as I warm up to this new proclivity.

In the meantime I won't be adding to my accumulation. I'll be weaning myself away from my penchant to pile up and hoard.

If nothing else, I'm sure making points with Phyllis.

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