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7:00 a.m. - 2004-07-19

TALES FROM THE SALE

Trust me ... I understand the concept behind yard sales perfectly.

You get your junk, you give your junk a price, you put your junk in your yard, people drive up and find some junk that appeals to them and they either pay for the junk or try to get an even better price for your junk. Finally, a price is settled on and they drive away with your junk. It's an even exchange of junk for money.

I understand this.

What I DON'T understand is how these white trash rednecks can drive up at 5:15 a.m., find a brand new picture frame for 75 cents buried on a table and walk up to me and say "Will ya take 15 cents for this?"

"Ummmm ... no. It's brand new and plus the sale hasn't even started yet. The only reason I haven't shot you for trespassing yet is because I don't own a gun."

"How about 17 cents?"

Ah yes ... the lost art of haggling with pennies. Something that hasn't been attempted since the waning days of the great depression.

"Come back at 10:00. I'm marking everything down to half price at 10:00."

"19 cents??"

If I still harbored the dexterity I had as a child, I would have answered him with a swift kick to the temple. Alas, I'm about as limber as a crippled walrus these days and would have been damned lucky to connect with his shins.


All in all, we had a decent yard sale, continuing our record of making $450 for the day.

Susie and I have had five yard sales as a married couple. Five yard sales in 16 years.

Four of those five, we made within $10 of $450.

The fifth was when we were moving out of our old house and purged a great deal of stuff, ending up with close to $1,000 for the day.

This one saw the debut of a shitload of Andrew's stuff. His crib, changing table, toddler bed, clothes and toys did extremely well.

Susie, being the sensitive mother creature, had spent the week leading up to the yard sale babbling about how she didn't know if she could part with these things as they all held "sentimental value" to her.

Which was odd because the only sentimental value I had of Andrew's changing table was the smell of stinky green diarrhea wafting through my eyes and nostrils like miniature ninjas.

Wanna hold on to memories of bizarre stanky baby shit???

Thanks, but I'll pass.

I have to admit ... I feel kinda bad about some of the things we sold.

We sold this plastic frog sprinkler for kids to play in.

Susie bought it at a yard sale for a quarter earlier this year and thought Andrew would love it.

We hooked it up to the hose and turned it on.

Water petered out of it in dribbles.

For the life of me, I couldn't get the water to shoot more than four inches out of the frog.

So we put it in our yard sale for a quarter.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

A sweet elderly couple saw it and bought it for their great grandkids.

They spent ten minutes telling me all about their grandkids and great grandkids.

It was sweet the first 30 seconds or so.

Then it was just fucking annoying.

I wanted to say "Look, gramps .... I'm trying to run a yard sale here and have shitloads more defective merchandise to move. Take the broken frog home and experience the depression that we did when we found out we had wasted a quarter on the shit. Move. Vamoose. Boot scoot your boogie outta here."

Alas, I put my shades on, dabbed on the fake smile that I've had since the late 70s and caught a quick catnap while the old man prattled on and on about his spoiled grandkids.

I also sold an old weedeater to some college-aged kid.

The kid was nice enough and wanted to know if the weedeater worked.

"Oh yeah ... sure," I said with visions of his $3 entering my wallet dancing through my head. "Works like a charm. I just learned to embrace the weeds and don't need it anymore."

All the while, I was racking my brain trying to remember what was wrong with it and why I replaced it in the first place.

"Does the spring work in it?" he asked.

Ahhhhh ... the spring.

While it HAD a spring in it to help advance the cord in it, I do believe I had lost the spring in some bizarre weedeating accident or something.

"Like a charm!" I replied while trying to peddle broken frog sprinklers to various grandparents.

I mean ... the guy's out $3.

And if he knows anything about springs and weedeaters, he can probably fix it.

But I still feel bad.

And so far, he hasn't returned to burn down my house.

So I don't feel that bad, y'know?


I've got to give Andrew props ... he handled the selling of his toys pretty well.

He sat out on the front porch while people hauled off his Little Tykes riding toys and barely blinked.

I expected him to be dragged to the cars of strangers, desperately holding on to these pieces of trash while wailing like he was being killed.

But he was cool.

The only thing I kinda got choked up over selling was my "Kramer".

The Kramer was a poster of Kramer from "Seinfeld" that looked like a portrait of him. For those of you Seinfeld nuts, you may remember the episode where Kramer had a portrait of himself painted ... well this was a poster of that portrait.

I had hung Kramer in several of my offices over the years, after having searched for him for months in the early 90s. I had finally found him in a small art shop in Atlanta and had never seen it for sale since.

But since we moved in this house almost two years ago, Kramer has collected dust outside in the garage and his time had come to brighten up the walls of someone else.

The lady who bought it assured me her son would love it and that it would be going right next to a poster of John Belushi from "Animal House".

I felt good, knowing Kramer would be going to a good home and that someone else would be getting enjoyment from him.

And maybe someday we'll meet again at someone else's yard sale and at that point in time I'll have room for Kramer to come back home to my walls where we'll grow old together.

Or maybe I'll just be happy with the four bucks I made off his sale and cut all ties with the shit.

Only time will tell.

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