Carmine Santa Maria is a hoarder

Carmine references the Collyer Brothers

Brooklyn Daily

I’m madder than a busy beaver so bogged down with dam building that he forgets to pick up his kid at the dentist over the fact that I’m a very busy man, and sometimes I don’t get to do all the things I want to do.

Look, you all know the ol’Screecher’s got a busy schedule, so busy, in fact, that I recently had to take my trusty steed Tornado for his million-mile check-up. But because I am always on the move, I don’t really have time to clear out some of the stuff that’s been lucky enough to call me its owner all these years.

And that means that I have it laying around the house, tucked in drawers, or under beds, or beneath floorboards, or buried under those old newspapers in the corner.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, are you telling us that you’re one of those hoarders we watch on the boob tube?”

I can answer that in one word: of course not! Those people are crazy! They never know when to let go of stuff and I would never get to that point, even if my lovely wife Sharon claims that I already have, and that I better clean out that drunk drawer before she cleans it out for me!

So there I was on Tuesday, with Sharon holding a wooden spoon behind me, going through all that stuff I threw in there because I was sure I would use it again.

Take, for instance, my old Kodak Disc camera. Now there’s a valuable item. Sure, I can’t buy film for it, and even if I could, you can barely blow up those photos of my grandkids to eight-by-10s. But that’s gotta be worth something on the eBay. So back in the drawer it goes.

And speaking of film, I found a big yellow plastic box with nothing but old rolls of film in it. Some were used and some were not. I’ve been meaning to get the used ones developed, and I probably will soon, and Sharon will certainly be surprised when I do. Who knows, there may even be a picture of me back when I was 116 pounds! And we might even be able to watch, photo by photo, as I balloon to my present weight of 616 pounds (counting Tornado, of course! Gotcha!). Maybe that will be a good anniversary present.

And all those rolls that we haven’t used yet? Well I’ve got a buddy who only shoots film, and he’d be happy to get a few free rolls of Kodachrome, I guess. So I’ll put all those back in the drawer, too.

Look, I’ve been putting things into this credenza since we got it 22 years ago, so I’m sure I’m going to find somethings that are worth something.

How about old cellphones? Seems I’ve got a bunch, and after finding all the different cords that attach them to the outlet on the wall, I found out that I’ve been taking pictures with them for years. It sure would be a waste to throw out all those photos of my grand kids in the cradle. Just looking at those shots on those tiny screens brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t know my old flip-phones, which were so cool back in the day, would bring back so many precious memories. So, back in the drawer they go!

I quickly hop-scotched over all the rest of the junk — I mean historic mementos — and found a bunch of old batteries that may or may not still work (I’ll have to test them one at a time), watches that just need new batteries or a good winding (so I can’t possibly throw those out), and old phones (which they don’t make like they used to, so they’re good to keep around).

In fact, there was hardly anything in that drawer that I could throw out. Oh, sure, I found a bag of old rubber bands that had kinda lost their elasticity, but they weren’t broken yet, and I think I could use them to wrap a few thing up before I throw them out.

So it turns out I had a tough time closing that drawer after I was done cleaning it out, and now Sharon says I’m worser than the Collyer Brothers! Can you believe that?

I don’t know what’s worser than being called a hoarder? Now, I admit that neatness is not my cup of tea. But let me tell you this: I do my share of sacrificing even if it means I get to keep all my stuff. I’ve gotten plenty of things done for others, like the B64 bus, co-terminality, stopping screeching trains, teaching ballroom dancing, my BWECC! monthly meetings, writing my weekly column, overseeing a 360-family complex, and working for Assemblyman Colton five days a week.

So let me enjoy my Disc camera!

Screech at you next week!

Read Carmine every Saturday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail him at DiegoVega@aol.com.

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