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I Am NOT A Hoarder

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Let me preface my remarks with this emphatic proclamation. Contrary to what some misguided people might think, I AM NOT A HOARDER! 

I’m a collector, big difference.

A hoarder’s house is packed with boxes clogging hallways, newspapers stacked to the ceiling and assorted junk bought at garage sales filling every niche. However, our house is neat and tidy with lots of open space.  

Although, I will admit, every wall is covered with bits, spurs, bookcases full of books, old license plates and Western artwork. I swelled with pride when a friend once said my house was the only house he had ever been in with barbed wire on the walls.

Although I AM NOT A HOARDER, I do have the hoarding gene. My grandma was proud to own a 12-foot stack of Sara Lee coffee cake pans when she died, while I specialize in prescription bottles, and keep in mind, I’ve had 11 different prescriptions for 30 years. Believe me, it’s a lot of bottles.

For those 30 years, I also consumed two cups of Mott’s applesauce every day, and I saved the valuable containers it comes in. Every one of them is filled with screws, nails, bolts and other assorted hardware I picked up at estate sales and farm auctions. I have such a diverse collection, the local hardware store refers people to me when they don’t have something.

Visitors are always amazed at how organized and tidy my shop is. In this regard, I think I may suffer from an obsessive/compulsive disorder.  

I have a friend who says he’s going to come over some night and empty all my screws, nuts, bolts, washers and nails in one big jumble on the floor. If he ever did, I think I might shoot myself, right after I shot him!

I have a reason for collecting the things I do. I’ve amassed over 400 ball caps because I have a big bald spot in the middle of my head growing faster than a forest fire in California. I always wear a hat because I suffer from cranial deforestation and follicular regression.  

I’ve also been diagnosed with hair compensation syndrome which means I wear a hat at ALL times. And, I’m very picky about the kind of cap I wear. 

I don’t like the ones with mesh on the back of the cap. I use these as sieves to strain paint.

My wife insists I don’t need 400 ball caps, but I tried giving several to a restaurant with ball caps hanging from its rafters and they declined my generous offer because a lot of my hats were given to me by septic pumpers, tallow works and slaughterhouses, and the restaurant owner thought they might NOT be conducive to a customer’s dining experience.

I may very well have the largest motel/hotel stationery collection in the world. In my 40 years of traveling, I usually stayed at motels so cheap that I was lucky to get a free postcard.  

In my mother’s second career, she traveled all over the country closing bankrupt banks for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Because she worked for the government, she stayed at Hiltons, Doubletrees, Marriotts and other assorted upscale hotels, and she gave me the free stationery. 

She also saved a bank bag from every bank she closed down, so I must have the biggest collection of bankrupt bank bags in the country. Who knows what it could be worth?

One of my life’s primary goals was to hold the world record for the number of pens in my possession, after all, they are the tools of my trade. I think I need somewhere around 14,000 to break the record, and I’m close because every drawer in the house is stuffed with free pens from banks, auction markets and drug companies who, by the way, give away the best pens with weird names of new drugs on them. 

I haven’t even mentioned my thousands of books and trophy buckles cowboys hocked at pawn shops, expired old calendars or my single spur-leather collection. 

OK, I admit my collecting habit may be a bit out of control. My wife doesn’t want to deal with all this “junk” after I’m gone, so if you’re interested in acquiring a world class collection of stationery or bankrupt bank bags, contact her, as I’m much too emotionally invested to deal with it.

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