10/17/08 - Goodwill Highland St

hello everyone. welcome back to bitter/books. very lucky for you that you showed up just now.

congratulations, in a way.

this week we explored the usually barren wastelands of the goodwill on highland street here in beautiful [adjective] memphis tennessee and found some wonderful delights, much to my surprise. my prior visits to this place have all sort of blown a proverbial fat one in one way or another, but this time i don't know, a groove was just gotten into and a good time was had by all. i guess it doesn't hurt that i made two of my best all time snags, completely out of nowhere, apropos of not even less than nothing at all, for about six bucks total. i get ahead of myself, though.

your humble narrator, shall we say less than pleased at the prospect of slogging through this place again...if only i'd known. you know what, i'm still smarting from the removal of the meteor-sized pothole that used to dominate about 60% of this parking lot, the first time i came by. i know it was inconvenient, bordering on illegal, but i kind of fell in love with the thing (you remember the scene from the end of the blues brothers movie where the illinois nazis drive their car off a half-finished freeway into a gigantic hole in the middle of the street and die? that size) and am still a little disappointed whenever i drive up and it's not there. but, in the spirit of true adventure journalism, we press on.

one thing i've noticed is that all these stores have their own little specialty, whether it's wacky t-shirts, cheap cds, old appliances, or hilarious framed shit to go up on your walls, there's always one thing that stands out. undeniably it's the objects d'art here, starting with this bad boy, this "piece," if you will. i didn't know the country alphabet contained the letters "cow," "egg," "rooster," and "sunflower," although what do i know, i'm only from black earth wisconsin, after all. i only gestated in the freaking bowling alley. what would i know?

as much as i might bitch i really do enjoy this place. they basically live in the shadow of the college and manage to keep a cheap decent thrift store open that, every time i've been there, seems to cater to the nearby ghetto contingent (i'm sorry but i don't know what else you'd call the nearby stretch of southern ave) a lot more than it does to the overeducated, overmoneyed college kids right down the road. hats off for that if no other reason. also for this amazingly godawfully gigantic floor fan which has never been turned on in any of my visits but which looks like it could probably power a small cessna if it had to. bully.

anyway back to the weird wall stuff. i read through this whole thing (about 17 paragraphs, it's as long as your leg, framed and everything) and it's not too painfully cliched or anything, although it might be a little on the hallmark card end of things, but it made me realize, moms invented emo. your mom was emo before emo was emo. this whole thing, by the way, totally homemade. no price tags, no trademarks, totally a labor of love. and now it's here. back story, anyone?

usual variety of weird games. we had one of these things when i was a kid, all the little carom rings and everything, but i don't think anyone ever played with it. eeeugh. you know, there's such a thing as "bringing back too many memories." gross.

more weird wall shit. this was the end part of a long plaque that apparently explains what it means to be hawaiian, by spelling out the word "aloha," letter by letter. i've had the good fortune to travel to hawaii twice in my life so far, i might go again next year, one of my oldest and dearest friends was born on kauai and grew up in honolulu and i will attempt to paraphrase what i think it means to be hawaiian by spelling out "aloha" letter by letter, since whoever wrote this plaque fucked it up so badly:

A stands for "A stupid fucking haole," which is what all the locals think you are, whether they ever say so or not.

L stands for "Lord i hate these stupid fucking haoles so god damned much with their cameras and money, please let them fuck off of my island so i can go back to living in my camper van on the beach in peace," which is what all the basically homeless locals think as you drive by them in your rented jeep

O stands for "Oh my dear god if one more fucking haole asks me if i know the words to "tiny bubbles" i swear to god i'm going to mow all these sons of bitches down with a fucking automatic rifle, i don't care how much they're paying me to play the ukulele at the marriott," which is what the guy who gets paid to play the ukulele at the marriott thinks

H stands for...well, you know.

and apparently A stands for something about how it's the hawaiians' fault that they basically got colonized. i don't know. to be fair it's a lot more complicated than i'm doing justice to here, but jesus. we basically treat these people like second class citizens, do nothing to offset the completely obscene cost of living out there while still taxing them out the eyeballs for everything you can imagine, and for what? for living on their own fucking land that we just decided was ours? for the fact that it's so beautiful? for wanting what every mainland american, black or white, has but not being in a position to be able to get it as easily as we can? i'll shut up here but just put yourself in their place for about nine seconds or so if you can spare the time and tell me how you feel




here it is. find number one. there are no words to describe how amazing i felt when i stumbled upon this, stashed away underneath a small pile of "hang in there!" posters and hummel figurines. 1981. this thing is older than my wife and almost as old as i am. still in good shape, just needed a little windex and it's good to go. 1.99. basically...

i'll leave it at that.

plenty of decent records here, i'm sure, and not too expensive, but jesus? have none of these people ever owned an lp before? i'm no obsessive case but damn, this is no way to store the things. just for simple browsing reasons if nothing else, let alone the fact that you're more or less annihilating the poor records that happen to be at the bottom of the stack. needless to say i bought nothing from this giant pile of disorganized nonsense. step it up, goodwill on highland.

still looking for a damn vcr. i am so resistant to the idea of buying a new one from a new vcr store at this point that i'd rather spend a month just trolling around until i find a decent, cheap, functional looking older one, even if i have to breeze by shelves of stuff like this because it all costs a dollar or two more than i feel like paying. that's the whole idea with thrifting, people. you set your price point and you stick to it. if i didn't do that i'd have an apartment full of amazing old crap and books and appliances while i sat back and ate my own boiled shoe leather for breakfast lunch and dinner every day because i couldn't afford groceries.

stick to your guns is what i'm saying i think. either that or i want to eat my own boiled shoe leather like it was food.

i'll be honest i don't know what this is or why i took a picture of it. i tried looking it up on line and got nothing, and the fact of the matter is i honestly don't care enough to check back into it again now. i apologize to you and to myself for wasting all of our time in such a outrageous manner.



see also: nick hornby

i don't know what this thing is or was but it was full of plastic adhesive star stickers, which makes it double awesome, and i didn't buy it, which of course makes me double lame.

okay epilogue time...my second best find of the day (and possibly of all time) after the journey mirror was something that literally blew my head off the top of my shoulders and neck (which have more or less fused together by this point, from stress) but didn't bear photographing in the store, in the light. so, i give you, later on that evening, in the privacy and darkness of our dank weird apartment. the majesty, the glory, the singular mindbending wonder of the...


what is it? where did it come from? how the hell did it manage to stay in semi-functional shape all the way to my living room? these are questions i sadly cannot answer. all i know is it's AMAZING and it was like three bucks and you can replace the white bulbs with any colored ones from any string of christmas lights anywhere and i suppose it's a one way glass thing on the front and mirror plate on the back and it looks like it might be from the fifties or sixties or at least the seventies and it's a craaaaazy mixed up adventure into another dimension and i'm going to go look into it right now!




Amanda said...

The relentlessness of the funny in these things leaves me feeling battered. Like, I need to just lay my head on my desk now.

Re: Mirrored light box thingy. Dude, I saw this in your house the other day and I was mesmerized for a minute but then I was a little drunk and I forgot to say anything about it.

That's all.

schmutzfynk said...

i love that the journey mirror is now in what i vow will become our hall of mirrors (i just thought of that just now, let's do it though for real, mkay?) hanging just a little above my head where most of the deep and major points that journey the band thinks they're making usually go.

p.s.- i do this every time. read your blog at my desk and laugh out loud in spite of myself and snort white cheddar rice cake dust all over the damn place.

dave said...


relentlessly battering you with the funny since 2008