The Lord, Dead Brothers & Yahoos

As I begin to write todays post it’s still Sunday, I really look forward to Sundays because it was a day, THE day – when I could openly celebrate my love for the lord. Whenst I could publicly flog myself and carry a 16 foot high cedar-wood cross on my shoulders, wrapped only in a loin cloth and sporting my crown of thorns, and not be given a second glance. My neighborhood is exceptionally pious. It was a day of praise and worship. A day in which we offered him thanks and asked for his absolution, protection and love. We were blissfully happy.

I can tell you exactly when it all changed, oh believe me we still look forward to Sundays, but now – it’s only because that’s the day Hoarders is on. Hoarding, in case you haven’t heard – is Hot, with a capital H.

How does this happen? At what point does someone cross the line from bizarre to haywire? Obviously, severe hoarding is a mental disorder. You never saw anything like this on Leave it to Beaver. Scientists have labored for years to figure out if it is an outgrowth of an obsessive-compulsive disorder or something else. I think it’s an addiction, like booze or drugs. Whatever the case, hoarding is big these days. It’s got its own TV shows on TLC and A&E, and Oprah devoted two programs to it. When you get a double off of Oprah, you’ve arrived.

There is a book I read a while back, about life of the two Collyer brothers, who over decades became famous for their hoarding. Over the years, the Collyers crammed their New York City mansion with a Model T Ford, caches of gas masks, army fatigues, baby carriages, mountains of newspapers, objets d’art. It goes on and on. One of the brothers cut an astonishing figure walking down Fifth Avenue in slippers, fatigues, big coats, and long, dank hair. He reportedly made it to Brooklyn to buy food on occasion and returned with a loaf of bread.

They found Homer, the older one, first. He was sitting in an armchair, where he had starved to death. Homer had become blind and immobile, dependent on his brother for sustenance. Langley was discovered several days later. In their fear of invasion, the Collyers had booby-trapped their refuge. Take a wrong turn in the maze or touch the wrong item, and a ton of dreck falls on you. Which is what happened to Langley. His body was pinned under a suitcase, three breadboxes and several newspaper bundles. It had been partly eaten by rats. He was found only a few feet away from Homer, who had been waiting helplessly for his brother to come. City workers eventually removed 130 tons of junk from their townhouse – to put that in perspective, that is more than 100 tons, but less than 150 tons… isn’t that simply amazing kids?

Check these out….


This is the Brownstone House they Lived in, ladders were required by the authorities to enter.



Look how narrow the front staircase had become....



Crawling through a door, notice the lamp hanging down, that's how high the junk was, 12 - 15 foot ceilings in the house.



Again notice hanging light fixture, 12 - 15 foot ceilings and men can't even walk upright. The crap is piled so high.



The body of a badly crushed and rat nibbled Langley, the younger brother can be seen in this picture...







The hoarding phenomenon, has now transferred to the digital world, a place I’ll admit to having flirted with… where hoarders clutter their computers with an endless stream of downloads, old documents and folders. Called “digital packrats,”Wired magazine explains that “Infohoarding may be the first psychiatric dysfunction born of digital age.” The trend is so common that it has even garnered a definition in Wikipedia, which explains that “Digital hoarders find it just as difficult to press ‘delete’ as traditional hoarders find throwing items in the trash.” OK, I’m nowhere near that bad, but I do like a good book, movie, song, or what-have you…. and I have bought an external hard drive to keep my main machine running lean and mean – but still…..

They are all great shows and not only do they make you want to run over to your closets and throw everything away, BUT you get the benefit of reveling in your superiority over the people on the show. Because in most cases, no matter what a disaster your place may be in currently, it ain’t half as bad as those poor yahoos….

Have a Great Day