Finding Buried Treasure

Saturday September 17th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

For as much as I wanted to blow it off entirely, I was quite proud of myself for spending the better part of today and tonight plowing through endless boxes of haphazardly packed personal belongings. I admit I did contemplate arson for a while, but I stayed the course.

I’ve found the best way to tackle an unpleasant task is to just DO it. Get after it and get it out of the way, then move on – hopefully to something a lot more fun. For some reason, I’ve been putting this off for years, and it has gotten out of hand. I needed to look after it.

The only way to do that is dump out the contents of each box, decide what to throw out and what to keep, and then find a place for whatever I keep. It sounds simple enough, but after sixteen hours of dumping and sorting, a can of gas and a match sounded like heaven.

The process wasn’t without reward though. I did make a lot of progress, and at the very least put most of my belongings into piles. I sorted hundreds of books into categories, and realized early that I need to stop buying them because I’ll never read the ones I have even if I live to be 1000. Now that they’re in categories, I can pare the piles down even more.

I’ll keep the top few in each category to hopefully read sooner than later, and I think the smart thing to do with the rest is give them away as gifts to people I think would enjoy a particular book. I suppose I could try selling them, but most used book stores pay so low it wouldn’t be worth the gas to drive them there. Giving them as gifts would make it fun.

Another positive that came from my effort was discovering all kinds of documents I had totally forgotten about. I ran across a folder of raw notes from my early comedy classes in Milwaukee at Cardinal Stritch College, and found some very usable ideas. That’s when it was new and fresh, and I wasn’t sure what would work and what wouldn’t. Now I know.

I also found all kinds of ideas I’d written down years ago for jokes, movie scripts, radio bits and comedy sketches. I have always been one to write things down, and I’m delighted I did. It was like discovering a time capsule from years ago filled with presents to myself.

Not all of it was 24 carat solid gold, and some of it made me scratch my head in wonder of what I was thinking back then, but there’s also definitely some stuff in the mix I know I’ll be able to tweak and use for what I’m doing now. That’s why I took time to do this.

Had I thrown most of the boxes out like I wanted to, those ideas would never have seen the light of day. Now, I’m getting them at precisely the right time I know what to do with them. I’ll have to transcribe the notes off of scraps of paper, but it will be worth the effort.

Still, one day does not a lifetime make. I spent one entire day working on all this, but to get here took decades of stupid mistakes and horrific breaks. I also found a lot of itinerary sheets for clubs that have closed or places that weren’t fun to work. Salvaging those notes from the big pile was like picking peanuts out of an elephant turd. Somebody has to do it.


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