Neil Offen: And it’s only a dollar

May. 12, 2013 @ 07:45 PM

I didn’t know what to do with the large flask of after-shave lotion that came in the shape of a baseball glove. And smelled a little bit like one, too.
I had received it as a holiday gift, from relatives who always sent me holiday gifts even though I didn’t actually know who these relatives were, how they were related to me or what holiday they were celebrating.
(These were, though, the same relatives who over the years also had sent me T-shirts two sizes too small with pictures of motorcycles on them, videos of how to kayak the inland passage and additional stamps for my stamp collection, in case I had a stamp collection.)
Even though I had received the after-shave lotion during a decade in which I had a beard and didn’t shave, I found it difficult to rid myself of it. It became part of my baseball collection, along with my New York Mets beer-stein key ring/compass/pedometer/pill-holder/corkscrew.
Most important, it’s hard to get rid of a gift. We still have the flowers that were given to us for a wedding present, back in 1970.
And then I thought of the perfect solution: a yard sale.
At a yard sale, we could rid ourselves of all the stuff that had accumulated over the years in the garage, the kitchen, the bedroom closet, under the stove, in the sink and on top of the bed that we didn’t know what to do with and knew no one else would want. It would also be the absolute best way to clear out all the stuff we had bought at other people’s yard sales, including the set of owl sculptures and the two-piece ice pick combo in the shape of the Empire State Building.
They were perfect yard sale items. Nobody in their right mind would want them but they were only a dollar each.
Since it’s spring, the time people open the door to their garage and find out that they actually have a garage, our entire neighborhood was going to have a gigantic yard sale. We thought we’d join in, so we began gathering stuff.
But every item we found for the yard sale was an item we couldn’t quite part with. How could we sell the boom box that only played tapes we no longer had? What if tapes came back and we were the only family boom box-less?
Why would we give up the electric wok with built-in alarm clock we had never used if there was still a chance we’d someday want to go woking and needed a wok-up call to go? Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to try to sell the mini tape recorder that was still in its box because we couldn’t figure out how to open the box?  And then found out it was not a mini tape recorder?
There was only one thing we knew we could actually sell. Anybody want to buy after-shave lotion in a baseball glove?
Neil Offen can be reached at