Volume 95, Issue 38

Thursday, November 8, 2001
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Smoking the old double standard

Hello, Bell? You suck!

One plain old Joe is keeping it simple

One plain old Joe is keeping it simple

Unabridged Unexpurgated
Marcus Maleus
Opinions Editor

"Downsizing" seems like the buzzword for our times, doesn't it?

Interest rates are falling, Major League Baseball is cutting teams, companies are laying-off workers and, all around the world, people are cutting off their lovely locks and opting for the short hair look.

All this downsizing reminds me of a lifestyle change I adopted not too long ago.

I decided to become a minimalist (I'll herein define it as the art of declutterization, anti-maximization) – scrubbin' the walls of the cess pool of possession, if you will.

It didn't come to me during some wacky new-age vision, meditation session or reflective moment while planting rose bushes in my Zen garden. I'm just a plain old Joe who likes to keep things simple.

But, it's not as simple as it sounds.

Parting with an 'Alf' shaped cookie-cutter or a t-shirt that says 'no kangaroos in Austria' can be a pretty emotional experience.

Just try to ask a man like me, whose culinary adventures seldom leave the convenience of ravioli or microwave hot dogs, to part ways with his book 'Falafels, pitas and you: Getting freaky with tzaziki.'

That's like asking a father to blindfold his handicapped daughter and leave her at a monster truck rally for a couple of hours.

I may never use that cookbook. I don't need it. Getting rid of it shouldn't hurt, but it does.

If you want to be a true minimalist, you must slay the dragon that is this pack rat attachment disorder – like the grade seven girl who has to finally give up hope of getting a reply to the letter she sent the Joey Lawrence fan club – you just have to let go.

That's the essence of my Minimalist Mantra – don't need it? Give it the 'ol heave ho!

Yeah, it's definitely easier said than done. Hell, for some odd reason, I still have a Britney Spears biography kicking around (I should really stop accepting gifts from desperate women at pubs).

Progress is slow and success is still a distant vision, a see-through needle in the proverbial haystack of self-betterment.

Let the downsizing begin.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001