The Life-Changing Magic of Dumping Your Crap On People In Need

We’re KonMarieing the house. We decided to do this when our 10-month old baby who can neither walk nor read books about the Japanese art of tidying, took a book about the Japanese art of tidying off the bottom of an abandoned bookshelf in my parent’s house, and handed it to me, as if to say, “UB-YON!”, which is the only thing she knows how to say.

The KonMarie method of tidying was invented by a crazy Japanese lady named Marie Kondo, who was so obsessed with tidying as a kid that she would spend her recesses in grade school organizing the classroom bookshelves by hue instead of normal kid activities like eating Tide pods, which would probably make sense for someone obsessed with tidying. Her entire approach to tidying is to THROW. EVERYTHING. OUT.

She’s one of those weird success stories of someone with an extreme mental illness who made millions by convincing everyone else that they are the ones who are actually crazy, God bless her.

So you KonMarie your house by giving it a surprise enema so that all the garbage you have ever accumulated in your whole life – minus the things that you really actually wanted to find – end up on the floor in a pile that vaguely resembles your house on any given day anyway, except this time you did it on purpose. You have to empty out every drawer, cabinet, chest, closet, panel, safe, crawlspace, sinkhole, and portal to the Upsidedown.

Then you put on your HazMat suit and start picking the things up one by one and feel them intently in your hands, provided that these things aren’t oozing radioactive gunk and none of them have infected you with flesh-eating disease, at least as far as you can tell. If they have, then you need to get a new HazMat suit.

The idea of fondling all the junk in your house is to better determine if it “sparks joy”. If something does spark joy, then stop fondling immediately before anything dangerous happens and make sure you have no gas leaks. If it doesn’t, you either throw it out (KonMarie it) which Marie Kondo recommends, or you KonMarie it onto somebody else, which Marie Kondo warns you never, ever to do because it is inconsiderate, but…well…you know…Pearl Harbor.

My sister-in-law has been into the KonMarie method for years, but I never realized until now that we’ve been the KonMarie dumping ground for all her junk this whole time. We’ve since KonMaried all the stuff she’s given us back to the garbage, just like Marie Kondo says to do, because I listen to Japanese voices when they tell me to do things.

Now that my house is much emptier and I’ve fondled all of my stuff more thoroughly and intently than I ever thought I was capable of, keeping only what sparks joy without blowing my house up, I’ve come to understand a lot about opportunistically dumping junk on unsuspecting people in need.

I came across a Facebook post recently that announced that a local preschool was collecting donations for a family in real dire straits but not the band.

The story is typical and could happen to any of us. The wife is in the hospital, there’s a new baby besides a 3 and 6 year old now home alone with their in-way-over-his-head father who has to watch the baby so he can’t go to work and can’t KonMarie the kids onto somebody else, so they have no money and they’re desperate. So the post says thusly:

“We are collecting clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, and used towels, and money for the family.”

Under any other circumstance I would have considered this type of post to be very thoughtful. But having just finished Konmarieing a lifetime’s worth of accumulated junk, I suddenly understood that this poor family was about to be turned into a KonMarie Ground Zero Landfill at a time when the last thing they need is everyone else’s useless accumulated crap.

I found myself wondering, acutely, what exactly a family in dire need could possibly do with old clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, and used towels. After thinking about it for 3 seconds, I knew the answer. The father is home alone with the kids. He probably did not consult his wife because he didn’t want to feel like an idiot asking what he was supposed to do now, because that would mean getting yelled at. So he called one of his wife’s friends who people generally call who’s into community type something or other and she’s really uppity and “does things”. Here’s how the call went:

Dad: We’re in a bad situation. I can’t work and my wife is in the hospital and I’m alone with the kids and I don’t know what to do and I’m freaking out!

Poster: Oh wonderful! I can organize a donation campaign for you! I’ll post it on Facebook and get the local preschool to collect stuff. What else do you need? Clothing? Old shoes? Stuffed animals for the kids?

Dad: Uhh…sure yeah that sounds great. What else do I need?

Poster: What about towels?! We can collect towels for you!

Dad: Yeah, towels…Towels are great…

Poster: Got it. What about money?

Dad: Definitely money.

In all seriousness, the family probably lost all their stuffed animals when the wife went to the hospital. Maybe the kids lost all their shoes overnight now that their mother is temporarily out of commission. Maybe they threw all the towels in the compost bin in an ill-advised game of Towel the Compost and the father can’t clean the towels because the kids ate all the Tide Pods and he doesn’t know how to use the washing machine. Maybe he thinks he’ll burn down the house if he pushes the wrong button, like what happened last time and his wife yelled at him, which is why he needs all that used clothing.

Have you ever seen a used clothing drop off point? In my city there are many of them, and they’re always bursting full of old clothing that nobody ever picks up. It just sits there for years, evolving, a testament to the out-of-control clothing epidemic in the West.

There is, and this is totally true, a now former used clothing store that closed down (or as we like to say in the West “Clothesed Down”) because it became overridden with too many clothing donations and the owner just abandoned it.

This used clothing store died, it was literally suffocated, by people dumping their clothing in a rabid KonMarie frenzy. Now this former store, located right next to the beloved municipal tax agents, has bags of clothes literally vomiting themselves out of its windows, and people are STILL dumping clothes there. The rule of thumb is, if you see a mountain of used clothing, add to it as fast as possible in order to usurp city dumping ordinances.

I wonder how high the mountain of used clothing and old shoes and towels is just outside this poor man’s house now. What if all the crap was KonMaried right in front of his door while he was out visiting his sick wife and he can’t get back in his house without hiring a crane? Worse, what if the donations came when he was IN his house and now he’s barricaded in by the KonMaried refuse of the entire neighborhood? What if the police never rescue him because they think his house is now just another de facto legalized dumping ground for used clothing?

Somebody get me my HazMat suit. I’m going on a rescue mission.




My Three Year Old, Offended by Everything, Ready for University

If you’ve ever had to deal with a three-year-old pre-gendered person who doesn’t understand how offensive it is to say anything at all to anybody about anything involving something that could define some other thing in some way that makes it not a different thing, then you’ll understand what’s going on in college campuses today.

My three-year-old child (or as racist sexist fascist Nazi cultural appropriators would say, “boy”) Fry is totally ready to be a college student because he gets offended by everything. And when he does get offended by something, almost always literally anything unless in very rare instances it happens to be something else, I have to put him in a “safe space” where I have removed all dangerous objects within a five-foot radius where he can scream until his face turns blue and he faints.

He really does this. He gets SO offended by something that he cries and cries and screams louder and louder until he turns purple and I can see the intricate vasculature in his 3-year-old neck. Then he literally stops breathing, at which point he finally quiets down because he can no longer, you know, breathe, and therefore make any sound, at which point we begin “The Countdown”.

When “The Countdown” begins, we usually have between 5 to 7 seconds before his teetering and staggering leads to him falling over. So my wife and I clear the 5-foot radius around him of all dangerous objects he could fall on and whack himself with and while I’m doing this I tell my oldest daughter Tzivia, who is 7 and strong enough to resist his violent staggering and also doesn’t rage in response to orange cheese sticks not being blue for example (we’ll return to this shortly), to grab onto him gently so that when his knees buckle from lack of oxygen he doesn’t break his face on the floor.

Then his knees buckle, and Tzivia lets him down easy, and he arches his back violently while sort of resembling the shape of a dead caterpillar on the floor. Then we count back up to 5 and he takes a huge breath and has no idea where he is or how he got there or what he was so offended by in the first place. It’s like it never happened. That’s called “The Reset”. Sometimes we prefer resetting him because it’s easier than plotting a long circuitous path down from the current insanity fit, wrought with land mines of potential offence.

Picture dealing with a Microsoft Windows crash. A dialogue box keeps popping up telling you about an error and you keep pressing OK but it keeps reappearing no matter how seriously OK you are with this error personally as long as the computer keeps computing. Then the computer freezes up and stops breathing, and you can either try to grease it up again somehow, which could take hours, or you can just reboot the whole thing.

The last thing Fry was offended by was “blue sticks”. We didn’t know what a blue stick was so we gave him a blue marker, a blue crayon, anything that was blue but every time we gave him something he’d scream louder and say “NO!” Then we switched our focus to the stick part and tried giving him a cheese stick, but he was very offended because he wanted blue cheese, not a blue stick, but we were getting closer!

We didn’t have blue cheese, but we had blue duct tape, so we put the blue duct tape on the cheese stick. He calmed down for a second, and then remembered that he was still offended because the cheese stick with the blue duct tape on it wasn’t orange.

We told him that we are very sorry, but blue can’t be orange because colors are mutually exclusive and he fainted again, which is exactly why he’s ready to be a college student.

In college you’re not allowed to say that anything is different from anything because the fact that some things are different from other things is discrimination. The more obvious the differences are that you point out, the more offensive you are, so just like my son needs a safe space to faint in when he is told that blue cheese sticks can’t be orange, many students need safe spaces to grieve in when told that men and women have certain biological differences, like being able to read novels about a fictional husband from the 18th century who understands his wife’s emotional complexities so thoroughly that he must have a tumor somewhere, and functioning nipples.

For example, take these offended students from Portland State University.

They became offended by the fact that women are the ones who gestate and lactate and men don’t. “You can be irritated by the fact that women are the ones who have to gestate and lactate. But taking offense is a response that is rejection of reality,” said evolutionary biologist Heather Heying whose gender must not be named because it is female. The students then staged a protest, and waved around cheese sticks wrapped in blue duct tape screaming about the fact that they weren’t orange and that this was fascist.

Regarding the genderless evolutionary biologist, one student responded, “Even the women in there have been brainwashed!”, which raises the question of how this student even knew that Heying was a so-called “woman” if you can’t discriminate based on nipple functionality. Another student response also reminded me of my 3-year-old in the midst of a fainting fit only with a slathering of intellectual superiority. “We should not listen to fascism. It should not be tolerated in civil society. Nazis are not welcome in civil society!”

He then gestated and lactated in front of everyone, to the surprise and dismay of Dr. Heying.

Let us end with some cultural expropriation in the form of a politically correct Zen Haiku:


Confusion say no Nazis!

Perform it on man.