Even neatly constrained to it’s microchips, the toll of my digi-hoard is beginning to weigh me down...
J. McKay / Have you watched the show Hoarders? Maybe you’ve actually seen one in the wild. As the several shows on several cable networks define in their opening credits, hoarding is the compulsion to accumulate and store large quantities of nonessential things. If you haven’t seen one of said reality TV shows, just imagine a giant (yes like Jack and the Beanstalk) walks into a neighborhood, rips the roof off a house and pours the contents of two goodwill stores and several dumpsters into the now exposed rooms of the house before replacing the roof and moving on after casting a spell on the owner of the house making him/her become desperately attached to these mounds of ‘nonessential things’.
Moving away from the fairytale analogy, as it’s pretty obvious that these people are dealing with, in most cases, seriously debilitating mental health issues that should be given due compassion and treatment rather than being broadcast into the homes of the chronically judgmental. Don’t worry I’ll save the hypocritical diatribe against the producers and purveyors of reality television for another day. I bring up the concept of hoarding to publicly admit that I am one.
No you won’t see the ravages of my condition from my front door or the door to my basement, bedroom or bathroom. I keep the mess enclosed on the hard drives of every electronic device that has gigabytes to consume. Yes I’m a digital hoarder and I’m confident I’m not alone My computer should replace its inadequate waste bin with one of those big blue dumpsters that star in a hoarders recovery. I can just see the wrinkled noses and furrowed brows as my treatment team tries to navigate to the nether reaches of my motherboard stepping over the piles and piles of files that make up my digital footprint.
Today as I tended to my digi-hoard I envisioned a computer virus that caused my computer to explode and in place of each digital file a tangible product to rain down. Can you imagine the mess? As my grandmother-in-law famously said, ‘Horrors!’ Even neatly constrained to it’s microchips, the toll of my digi-hoard is beginning to weigh me down.
Things are impossible to find and there are so many of them. So many unnamed files helpfully saved in multiple locations . Who has time to sift through them all? I often find its easier to just recreate what I’m looking for which means I’d be better off replacing my laptop with one of those slate chalkboards used by school children in the 1800s. What did parents do before they had tens of thousands of pictures of their two year old? I remember an old television where a parent loses a child and the detective asks if they have a picture and the parent reaches into their purse and retrieves a well worn print, ‘Yes, Officer this is my only one’. Heaven forbid I’m ever asked, but rest assured I’d be able to supply a unique picture for every milk carton distributed.