Posted by: kevinfortruth | December 22, 2011

Give me Intangibles or Give me Death

When one is too old for tangibles – send that person intangibles, unless the recipient has requested a very specific tangible gift. 

As everyone who knows by reading my Profile here, I am old – not ancient mind you, but old – old enough to be fully retired and drawing Social Security. 

I moved to Pennsylvania in 2009 and while doing so, I downsized – not enough by any stretch of the imagination, but I still downsized.  The reason for the downsizing was to reduce the shipping cost of my stuff – I still shipped stuff I did not need because I thought it was of value – even though I might not really use it again.  Maybe I was hoping to have a yard sale someday.  I simply got rid of stuff that made no sense to ship across the country.

I live in a nice-sized two-bedroom apartment, but only one bedroom is functional.  The other bedroom is filled to the brim with a combination of either unopened boxes or partially opened boxes that I have yet to finish unpacking after living here for over two years. 

My garage is not a functioning garage because I still have dozens of boxes that I have yet to deal with as well – as a result, my car reluctantly sits in the carport just outside the garage, which was designed to house my car.  Well, at least it is partially protected from the elements.

The two biggest reasons I have yet to fully unpack is that I have limited closet space, cabinet space, and bookshelves and also because, in reality, I have no need any longer for some of the stuff that remains in boxes.

So, they sit in the 2nd bedroom and the garage waiting to be taped up again for the next move.

The net effect of all this is that I still have way too much stuff.  Anyone familiar with George Carlin will know about what he jokes about as “stuff”.

I do not know if I will be rewarded with an all expense paid one way ticket to heaven someday, but if and when I do, I won’t be able to take much with me so the rest of my stuff will fall down the chute straight to hell where the heat generated by my disgarded excess stuff will keep Hell burning for probably another year.

Sitting here today in my oversized blue La-Z-Boy swivel rocker recliner with the oversized overly firm foam headrest that I have hated from day one, I can tell by glancing around that I still have way too many tangibles.

I have dozens of DVD’s and Blue Ray discs (some still unopened), music cd’s and books – enough books that I could lay them down as stepping stones all the way back to Texas. 

I have been searching for a replacement for my La-Z-Boy but every time I visit another store to test drive their recliners of various brands, I ponder if I will live long enough to enjoy the new recliner compared to what I will pay for it – even if I get it at a clearance price.

I have a new desktop computer and a so-so laptop – both Dell’s.  I also have been pondering replacing the laptop with a newer model – but again, I ponder the benefit versus the price.

I am certain many people my age, plus or minus, ponder things like this every day.

With regards to the stuff I have – when I kick off, someone will come in and sort through everything at warp speed and will toss probably half of it without the blink of an eye.  The things I consider sentimental in nature will be tossed first, followed by the things that appear to have little or no value, followed by those things too bulky or too heavy to transport – i.e. my current La-Z-Boy recliner and my taupe leather sofa with one cushion that was partially chewed by my Rhodesian Ridgeback who died a couple of months ago.  Savanah was her name and she was such a beautiful dog – I think of her almost daily – especially when I walk by the sofa and look down or I hear some of the larger dogs in the neighborhood yelling back and forth to each other across the courtyard.

I look at the sofa daily and when I see the cushion that was customized by Savannah, I tear up with memories.  Others would see a slightly damaged sofa and rush to toss it out the door while I have fond memories of the day Savannah chewed out the stuffing one mouthful at a time.  Did I get mad when she did it?  Yes, but the sight of the stuffing scattered across the carpeting made me laugh so much, the anger went away as quick as it surfaced.

If I could make a list of a thing or two I would like for Christmas it would consist of intangibles – those goods and services that have a short shelf life – like a gift card to TGI Friday’s or the Olive Garden.  Maybe a gift card to Stauffers of Kissel Hill – a beautiful upscale grocery store with several locations in the Lancaster, PA area. Another gift idea would be a gift card or tickets to a movie theater nearby.

Giving a movie gift card gets someone out of the house – even if it only gets that person to go into the theater to watch a first run movie.

By the way, to those who want to insist that gift cards are not intangibles, I technically agree with you –  I just use the term intangibles to differentiate larger heavier assets from smaller disposable ones like gift cards.

Being retired, the last thing I need is another tie or a dress shirt or a pair of socks – unless they are Gold Toe white athletic socks.  Since retiring, I tend to wear sneakers more than not and Gold Toe athletic socks really do the trick – and they wear like iron.

To be sure, I do not need another book – I have stacks of them here and there in every room – waiting to be read just like a row of airplanes wait to take off from an airport.  I will get to them but not anytime soon.

I have read more books in the past year than I have read at any other period in my life.  I never acquired a taste for reading books for pleasure.  I have read hundreds of technical books to acquire knowledge but it is only in the last year that I have started reading fictional murder and intrigue as well as political non-fiction books for pleasure.

So, what I am trying to convey in this Holiday blog is that I do not need TANGIBLE THINGS – “give me gift cards or give me death” as Patrick Henry so eloquently said to the Virginia Convention in 1775. (Not!)

I hope that everyone has an Intangible Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.



  1. Ipads and tablet computers don’t take any space at all.
    The best is a kiss from a much younger girl.

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