Everyone Needs a Hobby

I am angry with myself, given my slow start. I almost gave up the whole thing when I realized that here I was, 22 years old, likely one-quarter of the opportunity already had passed me by, at least statistically. Then again, you really cannot expect a child to pick up on this, so maybe I lost only, say 10% of what you might reasonably expect.

I tell you this: if I ever have a kid, I am going to start the collection right from birth and then, when the kid gets the idea, he or she will have a complete set of everything right from the get-go. That sort of a jump has got to resonate in terms of commitment to the effort.

I had been saving facial hair since I grew a scraggly beard a few years ago and then had to cut it off for a job interview. It came off in such a neat tuft that it seemed a shame to just toss it out so I put it in a shoe box. It was quite natural after that, when I cleaned out my electric razor, to brush the loose hairs into that same box. For a while I kept the cut beard piece separate in a corner, but after a while I just brushed the cut hairs into the box no matter where they fell.

It was a few months into this practice that I realized that I was missing a lot; so, I made a list.

There is of course hair from all over the place; mostly on top of the head although I had started to shave my legs for bicycle racing. Nail cuttings from fingers and toes are pretty easy also. Some of the other stuff was pretty esoteric but completeness counts, I thought (and think) so I set up discrete little glass jars for the stuff that comes out of the corners of your eyes and the morning, and sometimes those thick finger-nail coatings of yellow stuff from your ears. At the end of that phase, I remembered that sometimes you get stuff from your navel but I think that years of that stuff would only fill an empty cigarette box.

I was pretty happy for a few months when I caught a bad cold and couldn’t stop coughing. At the end I was bringing up these green elastic tendrils from somewhere and that seemed a little gross to me but they were so substantial, compared to some of the other stuff, that it just seemed illogical not to save that and I found an old paint can and starting putting it in there and also what came out of my nose which was hard to separate from the tissues sometimes and that is why there are those white lacy paper things in there.

I went on the internet and had trouble finding anyone else with this hobby except for this one guy in Portland, Oregon who was shy about it but it turns out he had thought it all through and was also saving saliva without anything in it and also sweat and his waste, if you know what I mean. Saliva didn’t seem easy to capture plus you spit all the time and then brush your teeth and how do you save that, anyway? As for sweat, that seemed impossible unless you were willing to save wet clothes and then over time they just dry out, but I did buy some 20 gallon lawn bags and I am experimenting with T-shirts that I use for exercise.

One night it hit me like a rock as I was brushing my teeth that I had forgotten about the teeth themselves! By now I have all my adult teeth and who knows what my goddamned parents did with my baby teeth, but I bought an old porcelain jar labelled “TEETH” which I think was a 19th Century thing for false teeth, and since I did not have anything readily handy to put in there I asked my dentist to pull my wisdom teeth and I put those in there, as a starter.

You will by now notice that I have avoided mention of those noxious extrusions like passing air from either end, not to mention excrement and urine. I was loathe to even think about it, for a while, except for the air or gas which it seemed to me was sort of benign if elusive. I do try to belch, when home, into a large glass jar and I have tried to do the same with passing gas from my rectum, but I don’t mind telling you that I am having a hell of a time with that part of it and the fact that my collection is so incomplete is, I tell you, depressing on occasion.

Now I view myself as a wholly normal human being and the idea of collecting excrement and urine is repulsive, and the argument that my collection demands no less still cannot get me comfortable with that process.

So here is how I handle it, or at least have handled it for the last couple of months anyway.

Actually, there is no real benefit to your hearing about that part. I think also we can avoid the whole sex thing except to say that when you are alone the collecting is much easier than if are with someone else, except for this one girl whom we are not going to talk about.

Let me tell you, instead, how I hope to expand my collection.

There are two related collectibles that I have not yet approached. One is blood and the other is actual flesh. The blood is easy although actually hard to collect and when you go to the Red Cross they will draw it but then they do not want to give it to you. My doctor was also very unsettled by the discussion and I don’t think he will help, even if I were to go back there again which I doubt. Minor collections into the jar are fine but very slow and a couple of more spectacular efforts scared me as I got woozy the first time and on the second try I actually passed out and wasted a whole bunch and ended up just stuffing the whole red-soaked wash cloth down into the jar which absorbed most of the earlier collections and certainly took away from the purity of the effort to date. But I think I can get the blood thing to work, and have begun to discuss it with my girlfriend who says she might help me to do it but was thinking about a trade for what I can do for her in return.

The flesh thing does represent the very edge of my comfort zone here but, then again, I am a young guy and likely can grow into it. Visible impairments will upset friends and parents and ultimately make employment difficult but I am exploring overeating followed by liposuction as one partial solution. I still have my tonsils and appendix and these seem benign candidates and I am starting to read about adenoids and gall bladders which, I have reason to believe, also are expendable.

My girlfriend has told me she has something really exciting to discuss with me tonight so, if you will excuse me, I will trim my nails, answer calls to nature, shave, and then head out to meet her. It has been a real pleasure talking with you. Let’s do it again sometime.