Unlike, say, the NFL Hall of Fame — which doesn’t care if you murdered your wife or had an appetite for cocaine and hookers — the Buckner Fridge of Fame passes judgment on merits of talent, personality, character and intent.
Straight-A report cards have hung there.
Inspirational quotes have hung there.
Especially touching Hallmark cards have hung there.
Grocery lists have hung there.
Art has hung there.
But there’s a limit to just how much can be crammed into this gallery … not so much because of a lack of space (though that’s occasionally a concern), but because there are only so many magnets available. My “Hit Me Baby One More Time”-era Britney Spears magnet collection from my lecherous bachelor days has long since been relegated to the junk drawer.
Decisions must be made. Some of the art has to go … mainly because there’s so freakin’ much of it.
Jellybean may very well be the next Michelangelo, the next Jackson Pollock or the next guy who designed the Noid for all the Domino’s Pizza commercials back in the ’80s, but that doesn’t mean I have to save every single scrap of construction paper the child has drawn a squiggly line on. But her daycare sure thinks I should.
Every day, her little cubby basket is overflowing with colored Rorschach tests, all of which she is just giddy to show me. Now don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE that she’s happy and creative and wants to share her accomplishes with me … but let’s be honest, not all of it is necessarily that good. I would just occasionally like the teachers to make a judgment call. Scratch paper does not a memory make.
The cool stuff I keep. The “green monster eating a snowman under water and making a Happy Plate,” I keep. The “upside-down roller coaster going through the forest,” front and center. The “purple sea monster that looks mean but is really friendly, sleeping under a rainbow” — of course I keep it, despite the fact it looks an awful like someone’s lower intestines.
The cut-out hearts, her name written a billion times, pictures of mommy and The Diva (who always look beautiful with vibrant colors) and of me (looking paunchy and bald … and always plain, old brown), the flowers, the frogs, the Who Knows What — I keep as much as humanly possible. But while the child’s creativity is boundless, my storage space is not.
Seriously, I have more handprints than the FBI’s database for tracking serial killers. If I kept it all, one day that blonde shrink from “Hoarders” would knock on my door and demand to be let in, only to find I’d been smothered to death beneath a toppled mound of construction paper.
I’m a very sentimental guy. I still have the receipt from my first guitar (that I never learned to play), my first speeding ticket (95 in a 55, sounds cooler now than it was then), and even a note from my first girlfriend, complete with forged suggestive passages (“you know what I mean”) meant to prove to my friends that I was a sixth-grade Lothario.
I keep stuff. I just can’t keep it all.
I wonder if Michelangelo’s dad had this same moral dilemma. Imagine the incomplete projects that kid brought home — granite boulders with a single chisel gash. That kind of stuff you can’t hide in the trash cans under an empty box of Cheez-Its.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.