Arts & Entertainment
Parting Glances: I got plenty a nuthin'
by Charles Alexander
Originally printed 7/24/2008 (Issue 1630 - Between The Lines News)
Whether you're gay or lesbian, you are "buy-sexual," according to recent Gay Press Reports. You're also part of a "discretionary" spending-clout minority worth about $641 billion.
(NOTE: "Indiscretionary" clout items - reasonably intelligent escort services, Botox alterations to unmarketable facial features, non-detectable hair tintings and overly conspicuous gay waiter tips - are not specified by the GPR reports.)
Buy! Buy! Buy! Spend! Spend! Spend!
So, let's say your yearly income as a "buy-sexual" is $50,000 [Yes, Ferndale residents, I know it's much, much higher for you all, but I need to keep things simple] that figure divided into $641 billion equals a heck of a lot of hey-big-spender persons. Go figure.
Truth of the matter is - if these numbers are anywhere near on the mark (and keep in mind I'm not particularly bright when it comes to numbers, unless of course they come with a six-or-seven linear configuration) - there are more of us out there spending than there are likewise Southern Baptists (who, tough luck, have to tithe 10%).
I can't speak for others but, apart from the necessities of my modest, uneventful, sequestered, contemplative life - food, clothing, transportation, gym membership - I'm somewhat startled - indeed, overwhelmed at times - by the number of nonessential "cultural artifacts" I've accumulated over the years.
I don't own these possessions. My possessions own me. (Hey! You bought us. You use us. You neglect us. Stop complaining, Mary!)
And like the sorcerer's apprentices of Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, Fantasia fame, my books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, electronic gadgets keep multiplying. There's not a square inch of my art studio that's not taken over by these pastime musical-and-visual placebos - all demanding equal squatter's rights.
The problem as I see it is what to do. The solution's twofold. Stop buying. (Easier said than done.) Get rid of stuff. (And start over?) Unfortunately I've found to my financial chagrin that I have an almost classic case of what's called disposaphobia in some clinical circles.
AKA: anal retention; and - like everything else contributing to humankind evolutionary survival of the fittest - it's probably genetic. Way, way back in times of our distant ancestors, those who hoarded things survived. The gene survived as well.
Another name for disposaphobia is Collyer Brothers Syndrome, named for two wealthy, reclusive brothers, Homer and Langley, who lived in a mansion at Fifth Avenue and 128th Street in Manhattan. They moved there in 1909. By 1930, they and their neighborhood had gone seedy.
In 1942, Homer and Langley were about to be evicted. They paid off the bank mortgage with a single check, and stayed cooped up, seeing no one, 'til 1947, when an anonymous tip to the authorities reported a dead body at 128th Street.
Police broke in and found Homer sitting slumped in a chair, dead from a heart attack. They also found 136 tons of junk. Over a three-week period the sanitation experts removed yellowed newspaper stacks, guns, bowling balls, ten grand pianos, a car chasis, an X-ray machine, thousands of medical and engineering texts, and jars containing pickled human medical specimens.
They also found Langley's remains, a mere ten feet from his brother's. He had been crushed under a pile of debris, a True Confessions magazine in hand . . .
Disposaphobia or no, I'm determined not to let my possessions get the best of me. My books are going to the Affirmations Center Library. My non-X-rated DVDs, shared with friends. My classic girdle-and-bra collection, to the Smithsonian.
(PS: I have seven ice boxes, three wood-burning stoves, and twelve toasters, if any lesbian's interested.)Charles@pridesoure.com