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Monday, March 30, 2009

More evidence of my mis-spent youth

For a myriad of reasons, some estate sales are a mess: quick sale, no time, moving, staying one step ahead of the Feds, etc. Most of them are a mess mainly due to the foot traffic they can receive each day they operate. I feel sorry for the folks running those sales - whether professional services, or friends and family, by the late afternoon, they are getting kind of punchy. But, if you're like me, and you like finding things, and you're willing to substitute selection for a deal, then visiting these sales around this time is for you.

So, onto the "Wacky Packages". How or why did I get these? They were just sitting on the floor at a barn sale. Someone must have dragged a box or bag full of junk and these escaped. I just followed the trail. Some were scratched but I was mainly impressed that they were still attached to their backing. It was a lot like seeing an old friend. Before I had given these up to the trash can in the eighties,I am pretty sure I had quite a few. I paid 50 cents for the lot of these.

I can handle a mess, compared to the strict degree of organization some sales undertake, there just is no fun in looking over items that have been cleaned, stacked, and lined up like soldiers waiting for dress review. I don't want to be told what items are there or where they are. I just want to know where I can look. "Is it throughout the house?" I'll ask. I want to look under the table, in the box, behind the door, on the shelf, in the corner, under the rug, between the floor boards, in the ceiling, over the door jamb, often searching for the items that haven't been found yet. Who else do you know brings a flashlight to an estate sale?

When I find something, I don't gloat. I have nothing to prove to these folks, "Hey, look at what you missed." Naw, I like to walk up to the person at the cash box and say "How much is this? or, "Are the owners or relatives around? They probably didn't want to sell this." I may be one of the few people that likes to add things to a sale rather than take them away.

I was lucky to grow up where I did, in a truly suburban setting and I would be surprised if it still exists as I remember it. In 5th or 6th grade I would walk from George Washington Elementary School along a main road to the local shopping center that had a 5 and 10 cent store, best described as the CVS of yore. For or 15 or 20 cents (Yup! then as now some things never change - nothing at the 5&10 was ever 5 or 10 cents, just as nothing at the dollar store is ever a dollar.) I could get a couple of "Wacky Packages" which had 2-3 stickers and a card board list, which on the reverse was a puzzle piece. I was young, but why did I find these so enthralling?

It had to be the over-the-top puns (what one might call the "Walter Crankcase" school of comedy), sight gags, rich and well duplicated color and design, or maybe just the idea of spoofing to bring down the mighty brand. Bombarded as we were by so many commercials this was our opportunity to lash out at the establishment, a perfect voice for a 6th grader. I eventually got a loose leaf binder with paper and stuck all my stickers for future reference. It was nothing to speak of, but it served its purpose. I wonder where it is now? If you want to learn more or were infected by Wacky Packages yourself, you can visit www.wackypackages.org It is fairly comprehensive with better images than my skills can display.

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