Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Case for the Hoarding Gene

I’m not a person that puts much stock in excusing destructive behaviors with genetics. More specifically, I think it’s a cop-out and used to excuse a person from taking responsibility. I believe that the majority of our existence is shaped by environmental and social interactions. For evidence, check out Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Myths of Gender (a fabulous and essential read, by the way).

But for this one teeny time I’m going to cite this crutch as an explanation of why I am so prone to my not-so-secret sickness – hoarding. It has to be genetic, right? I mean, there is this voice inside my head that screams at me to purchase things - all manners of things. I want furniture, paintings, glassware, tea sets (LOVE tea sets) – e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. But in my defense, I don’t want this stuff because it makes me feel good or because I have some sort of hole inside like the folks on that show. No, I want them because they’re pretty and, like a classic case of hoarding (I know, of course, because I’ve been watching the show), I believe that I will someday find the perfect use for whatever item it is that I’m compelled to buy.

Back to genetics.

I come by this honest. My mother has a collection of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys from 1983. Still in packages. She used to take me, buy two Happy Meals so that she could keep one toy and let me play with another. No joke. If I let her, she would have kept every assignment that I ever turned in or every random dried flower from a school dance. Now, she inherited this gene from her mother and I assume that it was lovingly passed down from my great grandmother. There is no other excuse – no one would willingly accumulate all of this useless crap unless there was some sort of base instinct to do so. And granted, they could have made the conscious decision to resist this genetic disposition, but then who would buy all of the pretty, someday really useful stuff?

The impetus for this post? This damn auction website that I can’t stop scrolling through:

P.S. I swear I will post Recipe Shower pics tonight – swear!

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