Smells Like Summer

May 25, 2001

As part of my series "Summer: I’m Going To Talk About It Until I Run Out Of Ideas", I’d like to talk this week about garage sales, yard sales, and the extremely rare rummage sales. (Rummage sales are rare because, while most people have either a yard or a garage, very few people have a rummage.)

The world is basically divided into three categories: people who do all their shopping at garage sales, people who only look like they do all their shopping at garage sales, and people like me who occasionally buy things at garage sales. Those of us in the third category are further subdivided into people who sometimes find things they actually need at garage sales, and people like me who will buy anything as long as it’s cheap enough. (I once bought a car horn at a garage sale because it was only fifty cents. No, I didn’t even own a car, but you can’t pass up a deal like that!)

No two garage sales are alike, but one thing they all have in common: the industrial-sized bottles of perfume on one table off to the side. No one who puts these bottles in their garage sale actually bought them; they were either given as gifts by very naive (and wealthy) children, or they miraculously appeared under the bathroom sink ten years ago, along with the blood pressure machine that doesn’t work and the automatic eyelash plucker. Of course this perfume always gets sold because if you put a low enough price on something people will buy it. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know at least one woman who walks around in a cloud of perfume so thick it distorts the space-time continuum, who seems to be at work at least an hour after she’s left because you can still smell her perfume. Well, now you know how she can afford such insane quantities of perfume on a salary comparable to yours. Of course it isn’t just women who do this. When I was in grade school, the school photographer was a guy who wore so much cologne when he stood still for too long he left a puddle. (Okay, so did the first graders, but this guy was 38.) He also wore tight, powder-blue polyester bell-bottom pants, a bright yellow shirt with an orange floral pattern that was always open halfway to his navel, and five or six gold chains around his neck. Frighteningly enough this look is coming back into style. Why? Because people are pulling these clothes out of their closets and putting them in garage sales. And if that weren’t bad enough, the same sort of clothes are appearing in department stores and are being sold for ridiculously high prices. After all, if you put a high enough price on something, someone’s going to buy it. And the people who buy clothes just because they’re expensive are the ones who only look like they shop at garage sales.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


What is a Cat?

  1. Cats do what they want.
  2. They rarely listen to you.
  3. They’re totally unpredictable.
  4. When you want to play, they want to be alone.
  5. When you want to be alone, they want to play.
  6. They expect you to cater to their every whim.
  7. They’re moody.
  8. They leave hair everywhere.

CONCLUSION: They’re tiny women in little fur coats.

What is a Dog?

  1. Dogs spend all day sprawled on the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.
  2. They can hear a package of food opening half a block away, but don’t hear you when you’re in the same room.
  3. They can look dumb and lovable all at the same time.
  4. They growl when they are not happy.
  5. When you want to play, they want to play.
  6. When you want to be alone, they want to play.
  7. They leave their toys everywhere.
  8. They do disgusting things with their mouths and then try to give you a kiss.
  9. They go right for your crotch as soon as they meet you.

CONCLUSION: They’re tiny men in little fur coats.

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