Why can’t I throw junk away?

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - Con­tact Barry Courter at bcourter@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6354.

What pushes your but­tons?

I tend to be­lieve that be­ing self- aware of my own par­tic­u­lar foibles and odd­ball per­son­al­ity quirks can be healthy. For­tu­nately for me, I also live and work with peo­ple who are not only ob­ser­vant, but also un­fet­tered by shar­ing what’s on their mind.

They have no prob­lem telling me that the clothes I pulled out of the dirty clothes pile not only clash, they smell funny, or that I have spinach in my teeth.

“I’ll al­ways tell you … even­tu­ally,” is a com­mon prom­ise.

We’re close that way.

Any­way, I ’ ve re­al­ized some­thing about my­self in the last cou­ple of weeks. I can’t stand hav­ing things in my house that don’t work. Es­pe­cially elec­tron­ics. I’m talk­ing re­ally old pieces of tech­nol­ogy.

My modus operandi when some­thing breaks is to shove it in a drawer or a closet and for­get about it. Then, months, or even years later, while rum­mag­ing through said drawer or closet, I will pull out the item and it’s like wav­ing some­thing shiny at a bull. It’s all I can think about.

My next step is to go on­line and find a video on how to fix it. Th­ese videos are the great­est things to come along since Mil­len­ni­als in­vented craft beer and gar­den­ing.

One of three things hap­pens after I spend way too much time re­search­ing how to fix a 30-year-old watch that cost $1.99 new, or a 10-yearold lap­top. I ei­ther dis­cover the fix was su­per sim­ple or that it can’t be fixed and I trash it.

Or — and here’s where Barry Courter things go bad for me, and I re­ally can’t ex­plain why it hap­pens — I dis­cover that all I need to re­pair it is a part or two. First of all, it’s never just a part or two. It ends up be­ing five or six and, be­fore I know it, I’m out enough money to have bought a new, bet­ter ver­sion of what­ever it is.

After I fi­nally bought a good weedeater, for ex­am­ple, I threw away the five I’d bought over the years and spent gobs of money and time try­ing to fix. Last month, I bought three bat­ter­ies ( it was a pack­age deal) for an old cord­less screw gun that wasn’t all that good when it was new.

My lat­est is a lap­top. I have no real need currently for a new lap­top, much less a 10-year-old one that doesn’t work cor­rectly be­cause it’s out of date and be­cause it now won’t even boot up. But since it came back into my house, it haunts me. I hear it mock­ing me, so I am ob­sessed with fix­ing it. And, here’s the thing: I will spend hours fret­ting over it un­til it works, and then I will put it on a shelf and never touch it again.

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