"If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question."
So asks fashion designer turned professional camper Foster Huntington, whose name, by law, required him to also write at least one book, in The Burning House, the blog incidentally turned book that shows off peoples' lists and pictures of every thing that they can't bare to live without. Things like glasses.
Last week I wrote about my distaste for "how" and "why" books; books that boil down the myriad and once excusably belated wonders of human behavior and the brain to a few chapters describing probable signs of cancer. And while The Burning House by no means tells one how to live, it does smack of this century's peculiar taste for reigning in and trading the possibilities of who we are and our lives' stories for knowledge, facts, or things to take their place.
Reductive arguments are fine and, like our habits, probably insurmountable, but wouldn't it be fun instead of minus-ing our lives into a box of absolutes to make like novelists and add some stuff we never had but wanted? A few erroneous details never hurt anyone... at least not in house on fire sort of way.
And since I'm kind and waiting for someone from Burning House's blog to pick the low hanging fruit that is U2's 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, here is my fictitious list of all I couldn't leave if I were forced to flee my home and if I were an Irish Terrier. Think of it as a joke aggrandized into a blog post.
Name: Ends in "EEE".
Age: I'm not as young as I used to be, I can tell you that.
Location: Depends who's home.
Occupation: Professional dog walker. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I heard that somewhere.
Website: Can I eat it?
- My bone. I mean my tail. Wait, no, my bone.
- The um... thing I play with... with the handles, and it's blue-ish. You guys know what I mean. It used to be cleaner.
- My genital region. Come to think. that should be number one.
- One of the kids is nice. And funny! Shit.
- I am hungry still.
- Sometimes when you put kibble in the freezer and it turns into an ice cube... Can we do that outside?
- The toilet. Is a MUST.
- Is it too late to take back one of the kids?
- The sound the door makes when you're home. I'll miss that most.