By Dick Wolfsie
When I wrote last week’s column about my recent knee replacement surgery, many people responded with expressions of sympathy. Not for me, but for my wife, who has had to pester me every day to do my exercises, which can be very painful. The pestering, I mean.
To help pass the time while I was moaning and groaning, Mary Ellen decided to tackle a job she had been putting off: going through kitchen drawers to see what we have accumulated in them over the years … and what should be thrown out.
“What is this?” Mary Ellen asked me as she dangled a doodad in front of my face. It was small, white, plastic, hexagonal in shape, and had several grooves. “It looks like it goes to something,” she said.
“I have no idea what it is,” I responded.
“Let’s put it somewhere in case we ever need it. It looks important,” Mary Ellen suggested.
“So you want to keep it because you don’t know what it is for?” And if we did know what it was for, we’d also keep it? That would mean we are going to keep everything. Why bother doing this at all?”
“Don’t be silly. Like I said, I’ll only keep the things that look important.”
I knew exactly what she meant. I have an entire desk drawer in my office filled with things that look important. I just don’t have a clue what they are important for. The truth is, there is only one sure way to find out if something has any value: you have to throw it away.
When Mary Ellen wasn’t looking, I took the thingamajig she questioned me about and I tossed it in the trash. The next morning, I heard the familiar sound of the garbage truck pulling away. Whatever that thing was, it was gone forever. So now, it was just a matter of time before I found out what it was for.
The next day our son stopped by the house. “Dad, Mom wants me to mount the kitchen phone on the wall. Have you seen the mounting bracket? It’s a small, white, hexagonal piece of plastic with a lot of grooves? Do you know where it is?”
“Yes, of course. It’s on the far south side of Indy — at the landfill.”
“You threw that away? Dad, didn’t you know it went to something?”
“Yes, I knew it went to something. I just didn’t know what it went to.”
“We do now, Dad, it went to the dump.”
Later that day, I removed the drawer from my desk, flipped it over and dumped the entire contents into the wastebasket: wooden knobs, old keys, pen tops, dozens of multi-colored plastic thingies, metal hardware gizmos in various shapes and a rubber whatchamacallit with a hole in the middle.
“What’s going on up there?” shouted Mary Ellen when she heard the clatter.
“Nothing,” I said. “It’s not important … yet.”
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to email@example.com.