Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another Writeaway Contest Entry

Here is another entry for Scribbit's monthly Writeaway Contest. I am hoping to make the deadline with this as I send it in very very last minute (Sorry about that Michelle). Wish me luck!

Collecting Ideals
Miss Abigail collects Teddy Bears. She has since she was eight years old. Stacey Lane collects boyfriends and plans to keep on collecting even after marriage. Mickey Harrison still has every Lego set he has ever bought, each in its original box. Grandma Clara’s house is wallpapered in Beanie Babies and she is still accepting them at every Christmas and birthday. That imp down the street, little Joe Ricks, likes to squish spiders on paper and keeps each and everyone of them tacked up on a cork board in his room. And me? Dare I tell you? Aw, why not. I collect lizards, but please, I beg of you, don’t tell anyone. I made that mistake once and I’ll never make it again. Tell someone what you collect and soon you’ll have so much of it, it’ll ruin the fun of it.

People all over America are collecting something. Oh, I’m sure they do it in other parts of the world, but I don’t think it is as prevalent or as desperate an action as it is here. I think it may be because we are all so affluent here, and everyone feels they have the ability, and therefore, the right to own lots of… something. Now I think that is why it is so common to collect here, but I don’t give this as a reason for why we actually collect. There are so many reasons for collecting I’d have to write a thesis paper to cover them all. You know, it isn’t even an exclusively human action, either. Animals, too, have their own reasons for starting collections. Squirrels and crows have been found collecting hoards of shiny objects for no apparent reason than that they are pretty; while Bowerbirds collect bones, glass, and all manner of things in order to impress and catch a mate. So what is the human’s reason for collecting?

Usually I tell people that I collect lizards because I think they are cool and “Lizard” has been a nick name of mine for most of my life. However, when I look deeper than the obvious I find a much more philosophical reason for owning lizard earrings, bracelets, t-shirts, broaches, and even a tattoo on my foot. I realize that I was collecting proof of an identity. If I couldn’t make it as a “smart chick,” or “artistic,” I could always make do with a “that crazy lizard girl” title. And if you thought about it, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to guess that little Joey Ricks only squished a spider on paper to see what it would look like; but after the reaction he received from his sisters he went in search of more spiders just to prove how “gross” and “freaky” he could be. Grandma Clara has often thought of getting rid of all those Beanie Babies, honestly she has. Yet, every time she reaches up to take one off its shelf she just can’t. She has lost a husband, all her children are grown and gone, and she rarely gets to see her grandchildren, but those beanie babies are hers and they won’t leave her. Mickey Harrison’s wife has teased him about his storage bins full of untouched Legos, his children have begged him to let them play with them. He never explains why because even he doesn’t realize why he keeps them. In a moment of deep thought he figured it was because he had married and started a family at a young age and he was just holding on to his childhood. I wonder if he would ever connect it to that day when his father gave him his first little Lego set. I wonder if he remembers the way his heart pounded as his father actually got down on the floor with him to “Play Legos” and how neat and methodical his father was about building that Lego space ship and then carefully putting all the pieces back in their box so as not to loose any of the small pieces. Does every one of his Lego sets represent a moment with his father that he wished he’d had again? And while Stacey can tell herself that she only collect boyfriends because she can, well, I think we all know better and we all pity her for it. As much as I dislike Teddy Bear collections, and really I do, I will never be able to fault Miss Abigail for hers. If you ask she will shyly shrug her shoulders and reply, “They just make me happy.” So they should, for the first five bears in her collection were given to her as tokens of honest love, and who wouldn’t want to collect love? Still, I can’t stop myself from wishing she would collect the kind of love that doesn’t take up so much space, or collect so much dust.

Now, as I hold these ugly wooden Oaxacan lizard earrings that someone gave me over the box to Goodwill, I hesitate. Then I remind myself that my identity is not in those earrings, those earrings are not me. I still hesitate, then, finally let them fall into the box. I turn off the light and leave the room. Guiltily I sneak back in and steal back my own earrings, my own ugly piece of identity. Oh well, maybe next year I will be ready to believe in me.
(**Disclaimer: To friends and family, while I know people who do indeed have the collections I mention here I must state that I know for a fact that they do not collect them for the reasons I mention here. This is merely a piece of introspective fiction. Though the spider and lizard parts are true, because those are mine.)


Scribbit said...

I like your disclaimer :)

And another great entry!

Amber said...

Ditch the disclaimer, I say. Every time she does a writeway contest, I always intend to enter...yet never get around to it!

cellista said...

Lizards, huh? I'll have to remember that. I collect penguins.

I just tagged you:

Of course, I didn't do your last tag, sorry! Partly, I completely forgot, and partly, I'm trying not to whine so much!! So don't feel you have to do mine.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I feel privileged that I already knew about your collection before this post.

Glad you kept the earrings :) !!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Come collect the award I just gave you!

Mountain Dweller said...

Thanks for popping by my site! I shall own up to the fact that I am also the proud owner of a couple of lizards. They do seem to have a certain charm!