Stuff, according to George Carlin

Yesterday I wrote about Americans’ accumulation of “stuff”, and how they deal with it.  A commenter pointed me to one of comedian George Carlin‘s performances, where he comments on that issue.  It’s a lot less profane than many of his rants, so I’ll post it here.  He still uses a few less-than-polite words, so if you’re easily offended, you might want to skip it;  but it’s a very amusing performance.

A few e-mailed comments from male readers, following yesterday’s article, alleged that the “stuff” problem in their homes was largely due to their wives and daughters, not to the men in their families.  I venture to doubt this.  I know a great many men who have extensive collections of tools, firearms, fishing gear, etc., plus accessories for all of the above.  For example, I have several plastic totes in the garage filled with holsters, grips taken off various firearms, reloading gear, and what have you.  I could dispose of them all right away, without affecting any the firearms I have in my gun safe;  but then, where would I find a set of grips that I liked if I bought a gun that didn’t fit my hand?  I could always buy a set, but where’s the fun in that?

I also went through my tools recently, and was surprised to find that I could assemble no less than four toolboxes (including the boxes, from small to large), each with a relatively complete set of tools for domestic maintenance and light household tinkering.  I have no possible need for more than one!  The others will be given to friends, or (if worse comes to worst) disposed of via our local thrift shop (which already offers multiple incomplete sets of sockets and wrenches, for example).  I also have a small plastic tote filled with several dozen rolls of builder’s tape, duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape, gaffer tape, and other varieties of tape, in rolls from small to gargantuan, new or partly used.  Why I have so many, and/or how they got there, I have absolutely no idea!  I wonder how many of my readers could do the same thing, if they went through their garages or workshops?

Yeah, I also have too much “stuff” . . .



  1. Well, if I can reference a few of your "prepping" posts, those tools may have value down the road. After years of collecting, I too have an inordinate amount of tools, but every now and then a need pops up.

    Like that drain remover socket. Sure, it mostly takes up space. But the tub drain is crappy, and it's cheaper to replace it myself rather than calling a plumber.

    I also have bins of parts. Take plumbing or irrigation. I always buy two or three of what I need (since PVC parts are stupid cheap). And I never, ever return anything. This has paid off for me (and my friends) when that plumbing misery manifests itself on a weekend.

    I never get rid of something useful. I will shed crapola though. I have a poulan pro (pullin pro) chainsaw that's been nothing but misery, and finally is inoperable. Probably the piston. So, it'll get chucked in the alley next week.

  2. LOL – Think what you will, my friend, but the attic and the entire upstairs of our home is jammed with my wife's stuff. I have PART of my bedroom for my stuff, and a 1/3 basement for my tools and shop.

  3. And my husband, far from having even one tool box, pokes through the entire room full of my craft junk and says, "Do you have a Phillips-head screwdriver anywhere?"

    Wouldn't necessarily generalize to all women, but I'm definitely the stuff-accumulator of this household and so are all the quilters I know. Look, I can't get rid of that bag of silk scraps from the tailor's shop in Jodhpur. I'm going to make a wonderful silk quilt of it… any day now.

  4. Peter, consider CraigsList for moving those excess tools. First, make sure all vehicles have an emergency tool box in the trunk or under a seat. Make note of specialty tools needed for work under the hood, such as belt changing tools, sparkplugs, etc.
    I would never get rid of vice-grip type pliers, as they can be very useful in breakdown situations.

  5. BTW, rolls of tape last much longer if sealed in a ziplock baggy. I've got rolls of various tapes that are twenty years old, and still stick. Masking tape goes bad the fastest, but the blue stuff is very long lasting.

  6. My wife lived, for a time, as a young girl on the Navajo Rez in Arizona.

    A Navajo woman owns the hogan and its furnishings.
    The husband stays at her pleasure.
    A man's possessions (his junk is a good translation) is called his "mokanan".
    Tradionally, if and when a woman decides to divorce her husband she puts his mokanan outside the door of the hogan and he is no longer welcome there.

    I like the word "mokanan". It has connotations indicating stuff of little value.
    I am sure most women would judge most men's stuff to be in the mokana category.
    Life was simpler when all my mokanan fit in a duffle bag and an AWOL grip.
    Too much junk complicates your life.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *