Garbology – This I Believe

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The History Of Garbology – This I Believe

Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

I Deserve A Medal

I know I have an opportunity to make some serious money in the next couple of years and maybe buy some funky defaulted home with the cash I earn.

I am a kind of environmentalist specialist…

I am a Junkman.

I’ve been a Junkman for twenty years. I recycle old people’s furniture, knic-knacs, books, records, dishes and sell it to young artists who need materials for arts and utilitarian items in order to survive.

It’s been a living… barely.

I do like the action. I like going into homes of people who are moving to Florida, or of people who died before they could get to Florida and buy their crap. I try to buy everything they own and then sort it out at the store.

Some homes are disgusting mind you. Some people live with crap on top of crap. I don’t mind. Sometimes, there’s good crap at the bottom of the pile.

Still, I deserve a medal. Old folks can drive me nuts, and kids of old folks who died can even drive me further nuts.

I bring the good crap to the store and I try to sell it.

I bring the really good crap home. Really good crap is called the “cream” in this business. If the stuff that is deemed good and brought to the store ,does not sell, sometimes I throw it out and sometimes I bring it home. So. my home is filled with “cream” and weird crap that did not sell. One can only imagine, what are on the bottom of my piles.

I deserve a medal…

Junkmen are not respected members of the elite establishment. Oh, the poor like us well enough because we can sell so cheap that it feels almost like we are Robin Hood to them.

The elite establishment do not like us much. They prefer their antique dealers to our scruffy beards. They want everything thrown out except for the apple that Eve bit.

The Antique guy is doing the same thing as the Junkman, he’s just doing it for a lot more money and the big difference is he knows what he’s looking at.

Look, every Junkman wants to become an antique dealer, even if it’s for a flash in the pan. We all want to find something that has real value, so that we can retire to Florida before we die. It kills every Junkman to think that another Junkman will get our “cream” and weird stuff when we die. Even though we have a lot of stuff, our motto is “He who dies with the most toys, loses.”

Instead of being treated like heroes, we are treated like Cavemen who have Dinosaur businesses. I am a Caveman with a Dinosaur business… but the world is changing in my favor.

I have always helped a lot of poor people who live pay check to pay check better than if a poor person had a credit card. The poor person with a credit card does not like to come into my shop. They would rather buy something in a very clean sterile environment for a lot more money. I don’t know why…

Well guess what. They can’t anymore. People are losing their credit cards and I’m just fine with that. In fact, the best times I’ve had in this business is when someone bought everything they owned on credit, put it all in storage and then became delinquent on their storage and I was able to buy it all for pennies on the dollar when it went up for auction.

I can bring all this stuff that nobody really bought and sell it cheap to customers who appreciate a good deal and the opportunity, I am giving them to get something, they would never be able to afford otherwise…

Hmm… I am a kind of Robin Hood. Buy From the people who are too stupid to know they can’t afford something and so buy it on credit, and sell it to people at a affordable price.

I deserve a medal. I don’t feel bad when people lose their crap this way.

Still, I am a Caveman in a Dinosaur business. In an age when many young people only own a computer and live in a sterile room that is reminescent of Kubrick’s 2001, I am trying to get them interested in warped records and dusty books. They could take my 15,000 record collection (which I schlepp around like an albatros around my neck) and put it on their Ipod, or they can get closer to my caveman roots and have to buy a record and put it on a record player… Part of my goal is to create the neurotic collector.

I also sell a ton of record players.

“I must physically own every record by the Beatles. It is not enough to have the music on my Ipod. I must possess the physical reality of the item. It would only be like masturbating about my dream, instead of actually having a wet dream.”

That last image is tough for some to grasp. You have to be an advanced collector with years of Psychotherapy as I am to understand that ,or to even come up with that image.

I deserve a medal.

For twenty years, I’ve worked outside the system. I’ve run Thrift Stores and been my own boss… I’ve only been sort of my own boss. Every landlord has wanted to be more than just a guy who is trying to pay his mortgage. Every landlord has eventually tried to become my partner. Oh, they don’t ask me, they just raise the rent, till it’s unaffordable. Then, I have to go to a new location and start all over again. Ironically, I usually start in poor neighborhoods which then run amok with gentrification. Ironically, I am always sited as an indication that a neighborhood is improving.

I deserve a medal.

I deserve a medal because I could have opened an antique store. All I would have needed to do is buy on credit. Instead, I have always paid cash. So, when you are in a rich man’s house and you don’t have much money, maybe you get lucky and you can buy  his underwear…

I’m actually not kidding. I was in Mosler of Mosler’s safes apartment and while others were buying his box after box of gold, I was buying his boxer underwear. Seriously, I bought his beautiful silk underwear and his pots and pans. I was grateful he was my size, as I watched them suffer carrying out the boxes of gold.

I deserve a medal for not falling for the credit card trap. I have spent twenty years sorting junk instead of faking an antique store on made up money. I have struggled with the Thrift Shop but have always paid the bills, and provided a roof over my family’s head(though I don’t own the roof). My vehicle is a 1990 Dodge Ram Van and I always have money to fix the wheels from flying off.

I deserve a medal

Oh, I get lucky sometimes. I get my paws on antiques for a minute, but I don’t have the clientelle for the rich stuff. I usually sell it to a dealer, who sells it to a dealer… Damn, I don’t even know for sure if there really is a customer for the actual antique. Maybe it is all a pyramid scheme.

Antiques don’t survive in my possession that well either. Ancient things just seem to turn to dust in my hands, or just suddenly are broke where they weren’t before…

Once, I had the apple that Eve bit, but I got hungry and finished it off.

I deserve a medal and you know what… In the next couple of years I’m going to get it. My time has come…

People are going to have to figure out how to live within their means, now that their credit cards are being shredded and they will have to walk by this caveman crying.

I will be their ancient Yoda. I will dry their tears and say,”Buy only what you can afford. Force yourself to save money to buy something bigger.”

And the President will give me my medal for enduring hardships of survival and living within my means. He will give me a medal for being an environmentalist and saving crap that was still usable and good.

And maybe for a couple of years my business will thrive and I’ll buy some poor suckers forclosed home, and I’ll upgrade to a 95 Van…

And then when people get crazy with the credit again…

I’ll take my precious medal and I’ll scrap it for cash.

I deserve a medal

This I believe

Larrydajunkman Fisher


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