Occasionally there is a landslide on my desk and it becomes essential to clear it.
Some stuff has to be thrown away, but much gets shoved into a drawer. You pick up a lot of things through 26 years.
The other day I was going through the drawer and wondered, "How did I get all this stuff and where did it come from?"
Mind you, journalists aren't supposed to accept gifts so that they don't compromise their integrity or objectivity. But mostly these were promotional items that have no real value, except to me.
I'm pretty sure I actually paid for the Jack in the Box bobblehead and the Jack in the Box antenna ball. But another Jack, which is a head wearing a beanie on a spring stuck on a stick with a suction cup, I have no idea.
I remember getting the autographed Blues hockey puck, by Harold Snepsts, but oddly enough, I have a lucky Canadian penny puck as well.
There is a Paderborn Sister Cities medal with a yellow and red ribbon, which came from an anniversary dinner but I don't remember what anniversary it was.
The pewter letter opener from the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers is many years old. They used to send me stuff but don't anymore, maybe because I never wrote about them.
My blue Tour de Belleville flasher still works.
I have a couple of wooden "round tuit" coins if I ever should get 'round to it.
The orange plastic duck bill whistle that makes a quacking noise is always a hit. But I don't think anyone wants my pair of foam ear plugs, complete with ear wax.
I have a spinning key chain from the President Casino on the Admiral. Remember the Admiral? Remember the President Casino?
My "Easy" button from Staples is now inoperable.
I still have a large eraser from my kids that says, "My dad doesn't make big mistakes." It was a Christmas present from their school days. But I always wondered why, if I didn't make big mistakes, the eraser was so big? I think I missed the point.
My pocket compass from the Illinois Tourism Board, which proclaims, "Illinois Right Here. Right Now," seems to point permanently toward Missouri.
I have a stress ruler from Mayflower Transit, seven inches in length. If you hold it for 15 seconds, then compare the color on the spot where you were holding it to the color chart, it tells you how tense you are.
Apparently it was to support their slogan of a stress free move. Blue is calm, green is normal, red is some tension and black is tense. I don't know if it works because I've never seen any color but black.
I really can't remember where I got the roll-up red plastic clown nose from Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but it certainly seems appropriate.
I think the drawer will have to stay stuffed. These items are much too "valuable" to throw away.
Maybe I could auction them off for charity. I'll bet I could make about a buck and a half.
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