Stuff – The Tyranny of Things: A Treatise on Material Malaise by
(54 Stories)

Prompted By Stuff

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Right, let’s talk about stuff. You know, that ever-expanding collection of… well, stuff. It’s the creeping crud of capitalism, the flotsam and jetsam of consumerism clinging desperately to our lives like a toddler covered in ice cream. We buy it, we hoard it, and then we spend the rest of our days muttering darkly about “where the bloody things went?”

First, there’s the daily stuff: The sacred spatula that you wouldn’t dare flip a burger with anything less. The coffee mug emblazoned with a motivational quote so generic it could inspire a sloth to, well, maybe open one eye. These are the comrades in our domestic drudgery, the trusty tools that prevent us from burning breakfast and starting a personal crises over matching socks before 8 am.

Then there’s the stuff that arrived with a flourish: The juicer you used once and now emits a whimper whenever you approach the cupboard. The bread-maker that promised artisanal delights and instead dispenses lukewarm indigestible bricks. These are all the emperors with no clothes, the empty promises that gather dust bunnies faster than a tumbleweed in a ghost town.

But the real fun starts with the unmentionables: The “collectionables” we hide from guests like state secrets. That kind of cute porcelain frog collection Aunt Mildred insisted on inflicting upon you. The “sentimental” Beanie Babies that haven’t seen the light of day since Princess Diana was alive and relevant. These are the skeletons in the consumer closet, the things we hold onto with the tenacity of a toddler gripping a soggy Cheerio: ”mine, mine, mine”.

So, what do we do with this ever-growing mountain of…stuff? Some folks become organizational wizards and overlords: Purchasing containers within containers, color-coded chaos with labels that would make a librarian weep with joy. Some people can locate a single paperclip from 1997 with the precision of a heat-seeking missile. The rest of us, frankly, just shove it all in a cupboard and pray it doesn’t develop sentience and declare a garbage rebellion.

Then there are the purge-aholics: Fueled by Marie Kondo, the queen of organizing, and a healthy dose of self-loathing, they embark on decluttering crusades that would make Attila the Hun blush. One minute your house is overflowing with knickknacks, the next it resembles a monk’s cell – all clean lines and an unsettling air of judgment.

Personally, I fall somewhere in the “burying my head in the sand” school of stuff management. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Until, of course, that inevitable moment when you need that “special” screwdriver to fix a leaky faucet, and discover it’s been mummified under a rogue yoga mat and a box set of “Cheers” DVDs.

The truth is, there is no one easy answer. Stuff is a relentless tide, washing over us and threatening to drown us in a sea of spatulas and porcelain frogs. But hey, at least it keeps the metaphysical dread at bay for at least a little while?! So, the next time you find yourself contemplating the meaning of life while surrounded by enough coffee mugs to share with a small village, just remember: you are not alone. We’re all slaves to the tyranny of stuff, united in our glorious, messy humanity. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with my spatula and a very, very, very important pancake.


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    You write with such humor and self-knowledge, Kevin. I think we can all recognize bits of ourselves in the way you describe yourself. I thought of Marie Kondo when I read the prompt – what among our possessions brings us joy? You describe her process with well-deserved, ruthless sarcasm that made me chuckle. I am not an advocate of hers, but am of you!

  2. Love your humor Kevin, but this librarian actually hates storage containers and especially the rentable storage units that seem to be everywhere.

    The stuff folks “store” is usually stuff they will never need and is best purged!

    And I must agree with Marie Kondo who urges us to buy and keep only what sparks joy!

  3. Jim Willis says:

    Enjoyed your analysis of stuff and how we may — or may not — handle it, Kevin. Three years ago, I tried a new approach to decluttering. I rented a booth at a local “antique mall” and have sold most of everything I used to stumble over in the dark garage. I am still in the junk business at Peddlers Mall.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Had to smile in recognition of so much of what you list, coffee mugs certainly included. And the various strategies—out of sight, out of mind is such a popular choice! You never know when you’ll need that thing you haven’t needed for years. If only you could find it again.

  5. I join the parade of admiring readers who found myself in more than one of your statements, or figurative conjures. Well crafted! But hey, just so you know, I was never a fan during her lifetime, but it turns out that Princess Di, for all her being imperfect and not a fairy-tale princess, still is relevant.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    A wonderful, humorous take on all of the stuff in our lives (although I did pitch my bread maker when we moved).

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