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Smell the Coffee: Bits and pieces from the files

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For many years I've kept idea files. One is a folder pinned to a bulletin board, stuffed with random articles, photos, quotes and stories that got my wheels turning enough that I wanted to hold on to them.

The other idea files are on my computer, where I save random sentences or column starts that aren't big enough yet to stand on their own. They're like putting dough in a bowl, tossing a towel over the top and letting it rise.

But some never grow. They remain these little undeveloped fragments.

That I just can't bear to throw out.

The problem is, I'm a word hoarder, and tossing these fragments in the recycle bin when there isn't a ding or scratch on them seems wasteful and wrong. So while there may seem to be little connecting these random bits and pieces, know that they came from the same junk drawer. Building blocks from unfinished structures.

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"Browsing the dim back corner of a musty antique shop, I opened an old book of poetry. Angels flew out from the pages! I caught the whiff of a soul. The ink seemed fresh as today. The tree of that paper still grows." -- Terri Guillemets

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I've always had a thing for antiques. There's something about a piece having survived for so many years that I find appealing. Someone cherished it enough to keep it around, or needed it enough that it never stopped being used.

There's a logic to owning antique furniture that many never consider, which is that unless you wildly overpay at the start, your purchase generally isn't going to decrease in value. You can essentially buy a dresser, use it for 30 years, and then sell it for more than you paid. With new furniture, it begins losing its value the instant it leaves the store. It will never again be worth what you paid, at least not in your lifetime.

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Speaking of antiques, my vintage station wagon, also known as a Mobile Storage Unit, has started having some unusual problems. It's become clumsy. Dropping things. Things you'd think a car would need. But considering this one keeps going without them, those parts couldn't have been all that essential.

The part that worries me, though, is that the rear hatch has reconfigured itself to where it now has a guillotine feature.

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The late Gazette columnist Terry Marchal was a close friend of mine for many years. He used to "accidentally" drop his spare change where kids would find it because he liked how excited kids got over finding a nickel or dime.

If I'm ever near a playground and have change in my pocket, I toss it over the fence. In honor of Terry.

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Why is it that hair seldom looks better than on the day you're scheduled to get it cut?

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I'm getting tired of being lured to different stores by coupons that promise amazing deals, like $25 or $50 off, but when I attempt to use the coupon, I find it doesn't apply to darn near anything in the store.

A few other annoyances:

  • Magazine articles on decluttering and organizing with photos of beautiful closets -- containing only like five shirts and three pairs of pants.
  • Articles promising secrets that will save you thousands of dollars a year, except the suggestions are things like "find a cheaper gym" or "drive to your vacation destination rather than fly" and you've never been able to afford a gym membership and it's been a decade since your last vacation.
  • Magazines that spend a quarter of their pages giving diet advice, and another quarter featuring recipes loaded with butter and cream cheese.
  • Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinfuller@gmail.com.


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