Nothing worth locking away
Anthony is out of town this week, so we’re rerunning a column from 2009.
A friend of mine gave me a real safe, with a combination and a key. I thought I’d gotten past attracting more useless stuff, but he really thought I should have it, and so I hauled it home and put it in my conference room. That was five months ago, and it’s still empty. I can’t decide what to put in it.
It has a horizontal surface, so I’ve put several things on it, but it’s empty because I don’t know what to put in it. I don’t have a passport anymore, and I’m bereft of bearer bonds, secret formulas, and diamonds. I could keep my cash in it, but a safe seems like a lot to put up with to guard the occasional sawbuck I could afford to be without for a day or two.
There’s a part of me that’s says I ought to have something so valuable that other people want to steal it, like a fancy car or a sack of diamonds, which by the way was one of my goals when I was 25. That’s only one of many stupidities I have to deal with, most of which I learned in public school. Speaking of which, one thing I’ve considered putting in my safe is evidence of my having been a scholar in 1954. The certificate has been in the same plastic frame since the 1980s, though, and I like it hanging in the hall for the boost it gives me many times a day. I want all boosts.
Counting my mood ring, I’ve got maybe $23 worth of jewelry, not much of a target even for the level of thieves who would let my little safe stop them.
What I want to continue to exist in spite of natural disaster or civil uprising are people, none of whom are small enough for my safe. I’ve got a few serigraphs and silver prints, but they wouldn’t fit either.
And when I think of other little things that mean something to me being closed up inside that drab gray box in total darkness, I can’t do it. I can’t lock away the necklace I got from an Ecuadorian shaman like that. It’s been around my neck, and I can’t banish it from life, from me. I like it. I’ll take my chances with the thieves.
If a thing is all that valuable to me, I want it out in the open, or at least easy to get at. If I had a sack of diamonds, I’d want to keep them out on a table so I could see them glint in the light. Why not? Diamonds don’t have much to offer as it is—hardness and glinting is about it.
I like having a safe, though. When the barbarians get to Chapmantown, I’ll figure out what to put in it.