Heck, I don’t really know what I would do with it, but who else but me would be able to say, “Hey guys, you want to see my firetruck?”
The whole idea behind this blog is to help me deal with my hoarding issues. But, in order for me to deal with the actual issue I think I first have to define in my own mind this question: when is what I buy or keep a necessity and when would it be considered hoarding? In order to help me establish this foundational principle I have to ask you a question. Would buying a firetruck be considered hoarding?
When Christian was three or four years old there were two things that he wanted to be when he grew up: a firetruck and a banana. True story. This obsession may have had something to do with him wanting to be a “Robot in Disguise,” but he was adamant that he didn’t want to be a fireMAN, he wanted to be a fireTRUCK. Why he wanted to be a banana was beyond my comprehension, other than he really, really, really liked to eat.
The poor kid also had a speech impediment that was so pronounced that my family thought he might have some form of mental deficiency. They turned out to be mostly correct, but he seemed to grow out of it after he got through his teen years. We have undecipherable recordings of him when he was little that make us laugh until we cry (yes, it’s okay to laugh at a disabled person if he’s your son).
Because of his lack of verbal acuity, for all we knew, he could have been telling us that he wanted to be a doctor or fan dancer, but the translation that came through Wesley, who was our main interpreter, was that Christian wanted more than anything to have four wheels and a fire hose (he did have a bed wetting problem for a while, so maybe that was a factor in him wanting to be a pumper truck).
Speech impediment and translation aside, the family legend has it that from that time on Christian has always wanted to BE a firetruck.
So imagine the surprise on Kelly’s face when I locked up all four wheels of the truck, quickly swapped ends and fish-tailed to the side of the road.
“What in the name of all that’s good are you doing?” she screamed.
I pointed mouth agape at a real, live firetruck parked on the side of the road with a FOR SALE sign wedged under the wiper. Kelly just rolled her eyes and went back to her book, but the kids and I jumped out to get a closer look. We laughed about ever being able to afford such a thing, knowing they were probably asking at least 20 to 30 thousand dollars, but I always say that it never hurts to look. I mean, maybe it’s a great deal at that price. How would anyone know what the Bluebook value of a firetruck is anyway? It would be like asking the surgeon what the total price of a hip replacement would be. No one knows how much it costs. You just pay what they tell you at the end and be happy about it.
The man who was selling this piece of machinery for the “actual” owner just “happened” to be working in his field when we happened by and he gave us the low down (street lingo for information) on the beast. He appeared at my elbow pretty quickly after we stopped, so maybe he had been sitting there all day like a fisherman luring old men with a bright yellow, four wheeled lure. I looked for horns and a crossroad.
“Only 16,000 miles on that beauty. The owner only drove it in parades and there ain’t many parades anymore. He says he’s gettin’ too old to drive it now and wants to get rid of it.”
I looked under the wheel well and kind of tapped at the gauges like I knew everything there was to know about firetrucks. I sort of gazed off into the distance like I was extremely bored and disinterested.
“How much do you think he’d take for such an old machine?”
“Only five thousand. And everything on it works. Why, this thing is like new.”
Christian instantly saw that familiar look in my eyes and started jumping up and down and yelling.
“We’re getting a firetruck! We’re getting a firetruck! And it’s yellow, like a banana!”
Only five thousand for such a beauty? I mean, how could I resist. How could anyone resist? As I walked back to our truck, I could see Kelly furiously scribbling something on a piece of paper. She stopped as I approached. I looked curiously at her as I grabbed the checkbook and made my way back to my new firetruck. I opened the checkbook to write out the check and across every single check was written in big black letters “VOID.” I looked at back at Kelly who just shrugged and waved a little.
I showed the old man what she had done. He smiled.
“Your wife is nice. You should have seen what the wives of the other three men wrote on their checks.”
Hoarding is an impulse and I knew the feeling would pass as soon as I got in my puny, silver truck and started the drive home, but that didn’t take the sting out of almost owning real firetruck. I was silent most of the way, but when I got the nerve, I looked at my wife out of the corner of my eye and mumbled under my breath.