I decided the other day to clean up our basement storage room, as a favor to my wife. I decided I owed her this favor after she sent me in there to find something and then barricaded me inside, refusing to let me out until I cleaned it up.
There are vast piles of stuff in this storage room, including stacks of news clippings and notes I’ve captured for developing riveting Rushville Republican columns, badly battered but still serviceable shoes that – you never know! – I might need someday, several boxes filled with slightly crushed baseball caps I’ve acquired over the years, and boxes brimming with books I’ve never gotten around to reading.
The problem with all of this stuff? My wife considers all of this stuff a problem. She wants me to get rid of as much of it as possible. Whereas I know with ironclad certainty that this stuff is exactly what my kids will someday be thrilled to inherit!
Sizing up the task before me, I considered how to rearrange it in a way that would lead my wife to believe I’d gotten rid of something without me actually having to get rid of anything. But upon digging into the first box of books, I got sidetracked. Staring at a prodigious pile of pre-owned paperbacks presented plum possibilities for picking the books I’ll never get around to reading on our upcoming spring break vacation!
I eagerly sorted through them, and realized that, well, maybe I could get rid of “The Story of the Second World War,” a book I might have read a few pages of when I bought it. Back in 5th grade.
And I guess I probably won’t ever actually crack open “How NOT to Write,” since I’m petrified I’ll discover that my Republican columns routinely break every known rule of writing, and a few unknown ones.