It’s been three years since I’ve done a Five Things On My Desk post. Clearly, they did not become the staple of the blog that I thought they might be. Also, long periods of time pass without having five interesting things on my desk at a time–or, more likely, things from previous posts linger on my desk for years.
The state of the desk has fluctuated; I’d been on a part-time contract for a year, which meant I spent about half time working and half time applying for jobs and interviewing and whatnot. So I was at the desk often enough that I kind of kept it sort of clean. That is, I had some weird stuff on it, but the papers were generally in stacks for filing. Not like the old days, when I was primarily a child care provider and only got to my desk sparingly, which meant the stuff piled up quite a bit indeed.
But, still, some half completed projects and various things brought down to sort or otherwise dispense end up on the desk for a while. Including:
- 3 Bird Calls
I have mentioned that my mother-in-law recently downsized to a an apartment, and we’ve still got boxes of things in the garage to sort whether we want to keep them or donate them. These were her father’s waterfowl calls, a couple of duck calls and a goose call, I think. I have them on the desk because I’m hoping to put them into a shadow box. I have a shadow box, but I’d like to put some sort of camouflage background, so I’ve been waiting until I get to a garage sale and can maybe pick up a t-shirt or something for a quarter. Given how infrequently I get to garage sales these days, it might be a long time until I get that shadow box made.
- Patriotic Face Paint
Every summer, my dojo has a series of “spirit weeks,” where you get to wear things other than a gi during class. Sports team week, street clothes week, and so on. One week was patriotic week, where you could wear red, white, and blue. I thought about painting my face, and the kyoshi also joked about me painting my face, and I am just crazy enough to try it. So I ordered these face paints. As I sweat a bunch during workouts, I wanted to test the paints, so I painted my face red while I did some yard work. I noticed I was sweating pink the whole time, and by the time I got inside, I was completely clean. So I didn’t paint my face for the dojo (but you can see other times my face was painted here–it has been a while).
- A Holly Hobbie mug
I guess you have seen this cup on my desk eighteen years ago.
I have a shelf on my desk’s hutch where I have some coffee cups of note–a clay one, unfired, that I made in elementary school; two signed Weber and Dolan mugs my brother picked up from WISN for me right before their show ended 16 years ago; A cup shaped like blue jeans with my name on the label that my grandmother gave me when I was in elementary school; a plastic cup customized with a middle school picture in it that my mother got me when I was in middle school; and a Boy Scouts Scoutmaster cup that had been my grandfather’s. Other stuff has gathered up there, mostly presents from my mother-in-law that require display.
I have been toying with the idea of getting a booth at an antique mall and putting things out there and maybe unloading some of my old technologies while my generation is at its earning peak and can waste money on Commodore 64s and TI-99s. I’d also put some of the various crafts that have been boxed in the garage for a decade and things like this, where I don’t even know where I got it. Was it my beautiful wife’s? Or something I picked up in my eBay days?
However, I have not yet gotten the booth, and I might not. But the cup has been removed from the crowded shelf for now. Until I clean off my desk by putting it back.
- A Time magazine from November 14, 1977
I might have mentioned that my high school made an appearance in a national news weekly in the late 1970s as an example of how bad schools were. My history teacher shared a photocopy of the story, then less than ten years old, in my freshman year. I thought it was Newsweek, and I’ve kind of looked for it, buying inexpensive 70s copies when I could, generally around the time that one of the teachers from the school that would become my high school testified before Congress. I did another quick search for it on the Internet, and saw this magazine with the cover story “High Schools In Trouble: A Tale of Three Cities”. None of them is my high school, so this wasn’t it. In the old days, I would have gone to the library and looked at the microfilm copies of the magazines. But, c’mon, man, when is the last time you saw a microfilm reader at the library?
- A Marine Corps Pillow Cover From Parris Island
I started my new job at the end of June, and my health insurance started on July 1. When I went to fill out the online forms for it, I discovered that the parent company requires a copy of a marriage certificate to enroll a spouse. I had never seen that before. As such, I did not know where our marriage certificate might be. So we tore the house apart for it, including the old mementos boxes. I was not able to find our marriage certificate, but I found several belonging to my ancestors.
And I found this. I thought it was a wallhanging, but I see now that you can slide it over a pillow. Parris Island–that would not have been my brother, who went to boot camp at Pendleton. My mother most likely bought this for her mother, and we have it still. I left it out of the box because I am thinking about offering it to my brother, for whom it might have slightly more meaning. I did not leave it out of the box to put in an antique mall booth. (I have already related the notion rankles me.)
All right, maybe that’s not interesting to you, gentle reader, but I will be tickled when I look back at it in a couple of years and think about what my desk must have been like today.
While I’m at it, let’s recap some of the things from Five Things on My Desk in years past.
- In 2011, I had a broken necklace on my desk that my wife wanted me to repair. The more things change…. I have a different necklace, one that I’ve had on my desk for a while now, because it looks to be a partial bib necklace or something. It has several strands, and I an not sure what is disconnected nor what it’s disconnected from. I get the sense that sometime soon (within the next couple of years), I will just take a guess and put it in her jewelry box. At the bottom.
- In 2012, I had a gallon-sized bag of spoons, my sainted mother’s spoon collection. Well, I’d moved them from my desk to the storeroom for a couple of years, but since I found a spoon collection display cabinet while Christmas shopping last year, I got them out and out of the bag to polish them. As I was not impressed ultimately with the cabinet–the places where you hang the spoons are too short for most of the spoons, and it has does not have enough room for all of the spoons. So the tarnished steel spoons remain on the desk, a bit out of the way. Probably until I bag them again.
On the other hand, I have learned who Mickey Owen was. A baseball player who opened a baseball academy in the western reaches of the county, and he was several times elected Greene County sheriff (I have a promotional notebook from one such campaign, which was on my desk then and probably still resides in the hutch cubby for notebooks).
- In 2016 and 2019, I mentioned a couple of things that I’ve since hung on the wall, namely, the Paperboy hand-held game, the handprint from kindergarten, and my great-grandmother’s paintings. I don’t have anything so easily disposed of on my desk now unless one frames the aforementioned pillow cover, the old Navy class picture which I suspect my mother’s Uncle Henry was in, or the customized novelty poster that has my mother’s name in it. Although, to be honest, that might be why I have left them on my desk instead of putting them back in the mementoes box.
Will this spur me to clean my desk? The magic 8-ball, if I had one (and it would be on my desk) would say “Unlikely.”