The Journal Gazette
Saturday, May 01, 2021 1:00 am

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Car contents reflect men's hoarding tendencies

Frank Hill

Where do you think I found the following items?

One coupon for a free haircut. One coupon for a free coney dog. Both coupons were expired.

$3.68, all in coins. Two rubber bands (one broken). Four flashlights. Two golf balls and one tee. That is not all. There is more.

Three hand purifiers. Two small bottles of eyeglass cleaner and two cloths to wipe eyeglasses. Two doggie bags. Two cough drops. Eight disposable face masks.

There was a sandwich baggie but no sandwich. Instead the bag contained 10 Advil, one baby aspirin and 10 Tylenol.

By now you have guessed those items were in my car. I did not mention there was one highway map of Indiana. That would have been too obvious of a clue.

At this point, men ask: “Why would you want to remove those valuables from your car?” Answer: The lease had ended.

Women ask: “Why did you let so much clutter accumulate in your car?” Answer: I'm a man.

Women say highway maps are not needed now. My wife prefers getting directions from her cellphone. A sexy-sounding Australian tells her where to go. He knows her better than I do. Recently I heard him tell her the blouse she was wearing brought out the color of her eyes.

What can be intimidating with cellphones are those built-in cameras. What if that Australian know-it-all saw me stick out my tongue at him? What if he is on one of those Australian rugby teams? What if he is coming to the U.S. soon?

I concede a cellphone has reduced what I need in the car. Previously I needed a pen and some paper so when my wife called me she could add items to the grocery list. Of course, those calls ended with, “Now don't forget.”

Then one of our sons, his wife and teenage kids told us about the cellphone app “Any List.” It has been great. Just carry it around the supermarket and delete items as you find them.

One item never leaves my list. I cannot find it. It haunts me. That item is Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest. Does it exist?

I think my wife added it to the list to keep me at the store even longer.

She knows that when I get home I will change the TV channel from HGTV to “Dateline” or the Golf Channel.

Even if Dr. Fuhrman exists, I have lost my zest searching for him.

As for my procrastination regarding the detritus in my car, there are reasons. One day I may need some of those items. Also, the car was leased for three years. Is it my fault three years is a long time?

Those were three years I did not qualify to play in the Masters. I did not lose weight. I did not write the Great American Novel. I did not win the lottery.

A guy cannot be in his car or at the supermarket all the time, so I have developed a close relationship with Publishers Clearing House. They call me by my first name and say I can call them PCH. They even hint they might come by the house to see me. My wife has made threats, vague in nature, about what she will do if I buy any more items from PCH. She seems serious, so I have turned to invitations to get something for nothing.

Just this week on the internet, I received an opportunity to win a Mavrik golf club. I would not object to winning a free golf club. It beats winning a chance to pay for one.

Anyway, there it was ... an opportunity to win a free golf club. However, when I clicked on the site I was told the ad was blocked. In a roundabout way, that gets me back to why I hoard things.

Because the ad for a free golf club disappeared and PCH cannot find our house, I now trust only what I can see and touch. That includes Tylenol, face masks, cough drops, coins and even expired coupons for hot dogs and haircuts.

Also, you have to admit that you never know when you will need a rubber band or a highway map. As for four flashlights, there might be enough good batteries in them to operate one flashlight.

Hoarding may be in my genes. My dad was a truck driver. I have aspired to be like him. Just imagine how much he could hoard in his truck.

Yes, I learned from Dad that trucks can hold more than cars. My wife, however, says my education is not complete.

I respect my wife and she may be correct. I have seen the expiration dates on items in our refrigerator.

Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.

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