Growing up, I was always under the impression that I'd die alone, barricaded in a hotel room with jars full of fingernail clippings and urine lining the wall. Yes, I was planning to die with my completed manuscript in one hand and an empty bottle of bourbon in the other, my beard yellowed with years of pipe smoke and a scar on my chest from a successful battle with a school of hammerhead sharks. I've wanted to be a writer my entire life, but have always assumed, by way of movies and television, that it's a profession you give your entire life to and are given back little more than praise and honor, pending you're a good writer of course.
I'm a byproduct of the '80s, conceived during August—coincidentally around my father's birthday—and grew up in the '90s during a time where the Internet was in its "is this a fad?" stage. Online publications and blogs were light years away from the behemoth source of entertainment and news they're at today and "buzzfeed" still meant the celebratory meal you ate after a particularly short haircut. I never considered the Internet as a platform to showcase one's writing skills and had to wait 25 years from my birth to find myself in a position where I realized I could actually make a living by doing it.
So here I am today, not locked up in a musty hotel room and still unable to grow a thick beard, but I am the professional writer I've always dreamed of becoming. Along with this new territory of working as the type writer-blogger Frankenstein whose blood pumps in the same rhythm as the pulse of the rest of the Internet, I find my life overtaken by the stuff I write. I live and breathe things, a characteristic my lovely girlfriend attributes to my astrological sign. Taurus or not, I'm a materialistic person. If the stars are responsible, I blame my parents for not being able to keep it in their pants on that balmy July night. Or morning? Gross.
My desk is circumvented with a coffin of alcohol bottles, my closet stocked with vaporizers, colognes, moisturizers, hair gel, balms, backpacks, socks and jackets. I'm never understocked with booze for a party and I always have a bottle to give away. Birthday, Hanukkah and Christmas presents are typically based around what I can wrangle for free and I often find myself handing out expensive electronics to strangers like sticks of gum. This jungle of modern day payola comes from PR companies, who feed my hunger for material possessions and quell my thirst for change.
My roommates never see me empty-handed anymore, yet they still inquire what I have in my backpack—a vest, some coffee, a bottle of scotch—and I'm still as eager as ever to showcase my loot, like a toddler during show and tell. Every excited adjective leaving my mouth adheres the glaze to their eyes and cements the fact that I can't be without my stuff.
I don't let my stuff define me, as proven by my gratis, wayward, deodorant advertisement-cum-skateboard, and I pray that it's not an inevitability just waiting to sneak up on me.
I wish I could build a fort with the items I've accrued so I can sit inside and just gaze. When thoughts like these enter my head, I gently push them out by reassuring myself that I'm saving money and only accepting the "gifts" that I really want.
Weekends are when I wake up from my mania and assess my room, inspecting corners and uncovering stuff I had forgotten about—Monopoly-branded stationery, boxes of unworn shoes, capsules of hangover pills. I take inventory of everything I have and whittle it down, blood rushing to every extremity available. It is during these sessions that my obsession with things, material objects, comes to fruition.
Then, today, as I went to the basement of my building, I looked inside my trash bag and found the elephant graveyard I assured myself was a myth. As I fed the trash can, I noticed the stray skateboard I had put in the corner, which spoke louder than the original email pitch that put it in my hand in the first place ever could. I laughed to myself, thinking how I originally responded with such exuberance: "Yes! I love this Axe skateboard! How could I turn it down?" Yet, as I looked at this lonely deck, robbed of a career of almost-but-never-quite grinding, I could finally see my materialism for what it is: not as unconditional as I thought.
In the end, I'm glad it's not jars of toenails lining my walls and feel relieved at the fact that I can let some of my things go. I don't let my stuff define me, as proven by my gratis, wayward, deodorant advertisement-cum-skateboard, and I pray that it's not an inevitability just waiting to sneak up on me. However, judging by my distinct lack of hobbies, I don't think I'll be taking up any reckless activities anytime soon.
Possessions have a hold on me, but only to a point. I'll always be well-stocked with whiskey and kale-scented bespoke shaving cream, but, until I learn to say no, I'll also be the guy in the basement throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise. On the bright side, I clip my nails in the trash and hardly ever piss into beakers anymore. Take that, Future Jeremy!
Jeremy Glass was conceived in a seedy dance hall in Hartford, CT during the summer of 1986 and was born nine months later in the bathroom of that very same club. You can read about all the weird things he puts up his nose on Supercompressor and follow him on Twitter here if you want to be DM'd nude pictures of Burt Reynolds.