My sister Maria likes to take pictures of special finds in the second hand store and text them to me with little messages. One day she sent me this little gem, practically guaranteeing me a night full of bad dreams:
I try to respond with special thrifty pictures of my own, like this special doll:
I could have texted something like, “I’m watching you!” or, “Can I wear a pair of YOUR undies?” but some things are so firmly implied that there is no need for redundance.
When I was a child, most of my clothes were purchased from thrift stores. And I still remember the joy of being told as a kid that I could pick out any books I wanted! — pretty much as many books as I wanted! – when I went with mom to the various thrift stores in Chicago. For a family on a budget, those are magical words.
The thrift stores have provided me with serious joy as an adult, too. One summer when I was working as an engineering intern, I bought a large stuffed purple pig and a blow-up reindeer at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop, and the pig became The Mascot of that summer. Lisa, Erica and I took turns hiding it and doing funny things with it (often at work it would show up in somebody’s cube), and at the pinnacle of the pig’s popularity, Lisa erected a faux spit and bonfire on the front lawn of our rental and hung the pig over it, upside down, as if it were roasting.
I wish I had a picture to share, but I can’t find it – so please imagine us holding a stuffed pig as large as a real pig, except it’s purple, and we are laughing like hyenas. Also, we might be drunk.
My sister Erica bags some real winners at her thrift stores, too. She once found — in the children’s book section — a board book with a hole in it. The hole was for your penis, and the book was something about penises and what they could do. Nice! I think that might be even more special than the leprechaun or the most enchantingly evil doll.
But the pièce de résistance of a lifetime of thrifting is my husband’s award-winning Ugly Sweater. We found the sweater in the first 3 minutes after entering Chicago’s Unique Thrift Store. Amado wore it to the Ugly Sweater Run and WON A PRIZE for ugliest sweater! He shared the prize with a handful of others, but the fact that he was up there was enough to make the rest of us scream in pleasure and then head right to the beer tent to use our beer tickets (this Ugly Sweater Run was sponsored by Samuel Adams.) Maria’s and her family’s sweaters were also from Unique; mine and AJ’s were from a Goodwill in Phoenix, AZ. Only a thrift store could provide such true ugliness and joy, because that run was a particularly fun activity to do with family. Thanks, thrift stores!
Seriously, though, thrift stores have given me so much more than clothes! Providing laughter is such a generous act, and by making things like stuffed pigs, Ugly Sweaters and leering leprechauns available, thrift stores have increased my overall mirth percentage significantly. That’s the reason I like to donate my old stuff to Goodwill or other second hand stores — maybe my clothes will come in handy for someone else, and maybe my cast-off trinkets and/or sweaters can give somebody else a good guffaw.
Brilliant Idea Alert: —> And now I have a brilliant idea. Maria and Erica — want to have a competition? Let’s see who can find the BEST thing at a thrift store. We can pick a time frame (the next 3 weeks?) and send in pictures of our top two things to enter. Other people are welcome to enter, too! Totally impartial people, like Muz, Papa and AJ can be our judges if they want. What do you say? Are you and your city up for it? Game on!
P.S. – Isabel and I went to the Goodwill today, where I found a shirt for me and two books for her. I also found the following splendid treasures for Maria.
P.P.S. – I found old pictures of the purple pig! Here it is, featured with young me and young Amado.