Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Found it!

My favorite things in the world are found objects. I'm not talking about the five dollar bill you find on the side of the street every once in a blue moon. That's inconsequential. I'm talking about the priceless pieces of paper or pictures that you randomly come across.

In my line of work I buy back books from customers. More often than not when I'm going through the books I come across old pictures, shopping lists, random notes, etc. It coincides with my fierce love of picking up hubcaps and random construction work objects (which I'm sure is moderately illegal in these parts). Maybe I'm a freak, maybe I'm a pack rat or perhaps eccentric--whatever, I make no apologies.

So it's the voyeur in me that is fascinated with other people's scraps of their lives. My most treasured 'find' is what I found in an old army jacket that I tried on in a thrift store. It was a note for a Marine to report to therapy at Camp Pendelton for 'neuropsychiatric analysis.' The date was July 9, 1974, which ties in with the end years of the Vietnam war. It was folded up into a neat little square half the length of my pinkie and it managed to stay in that camouflage jacket until it ended up in a thrift store in 2006. I ended up not getting the jacket, but I took the paper home and tucked it away with all my other strange found objects.

Human beings always have strange fascinations with voyeurism. It's amazing how other people's little remainders can make an impact or work their way into other's lives. There are a select number of websites and books dedicated to the documentation of these little scraps of anonymity. To name the ones with the largest cult followings: PostSecret (a personal favorite of mine), Found Magazine, and Milk Eggs Vodka.

A new habit that I've formed has been inspired by Post Secret. Every time I check out a library book (which is quite often.....), I try to leave a little piece of myself in it when I turn it back in. Little anonymous secrets in me that I'm terrified to tell anyone else. I do this in the hope that I can speak to someone the way the little found objects I've come across over the years have affected me.

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