Essentially, all I do is put and take stuff on and off shelves all day, but it’s not as boring as it sounds.
Once a guy’s truckload of used leather jackets from an antique motorist club’s local chapter was deposited on site and it was my job that morning to clean them. Now, like with most used clothes, these jackets had some “pocket-treasures,” if you will, but you may find this case of special interest.
Firstly, practically every member carried a business card–I suppose technically it would be a “club card,” but the inclusion of office #s, FAX #s, and some address on the cards sort of confused me.
Secondly, trinkets. Random things. Not even hood ornaments. One guy had a cardboard-origami swan in his pocket. A zip-up pocket. What significance does that play? And what about the blank dice? Or the metal spork? Or the broken mouse trap?
One carried a set of false teeth. That’s right–actual false teeth! This was when I was convinced we weren’t playing lost-and-found (or at least this was what I was now hoping).
I called the office phone number that the cards provided and asked about their various objects to make sure that this was not an accident and that they for sure were not needed. The phone never picked up.
I called back the guy who made the drop-off–his name’s DEW Cedar. Dew told me the club had been disbanded for over a decade. Well, alright then.
He said the trinkets were their way of identifying each other’s cars. They would be hidden inside their vehicles, and if ever one was stolen they would just use an “ASCII table” of sorts (???) to map each member to their unique item and determine ownership and whatnot.
To show me the significance of these cars in their world, he went on to tell me that in 1992 a buddy of his, WILLY, had his white ’53 Chevy Corvette stolen one night.
The next week, at a famous car show, the club was gathered in the lot as a green ’53 Corvette entered the scene. The DRIVER stepped out and proceeded to open the hood and the trunk. The entire group followed Willy to the critical vehicle. This was the following conversation:
WILLY. That’s a darn-fine car you got there. ’53 Corvette?
DRIVER. Good eye.
W. I had one of those. Up until about a week ago.
D. …Oh. …You’d sell a car like this one?
W. Nope, I’d never sell such a beauty. And I wouldn’t say it was a car like that one.
D. …You wouldn’t…?
W. How long have you had this one?
D. …Almost 20 years….
W. Mind if I take a look in the trunk?
D. I suppose not, as long as you don’t run away with it! *laugh; realization that he is alone in doing so*
W. *close inspection of trunk* What’s this hairbrush doing in here?
D. Hairbrush? Oh, yes, the hairbrush… I… use it sometimes… when I’m changing a tire.
W. Yeah? I guess that’s too ridiculous to be a lie. You know, I actually kept a hairbrush in my trunk, but I guess that’s just a coincidence and nothing more.
D. …Yeah, weird.
W. Nice paint job, though.
D. Thanks! But it’s always been green.
W. I didn’t say you changed the color. You could’ve just done some freshening up, right?
D. Right, of course. I guess I just inferred from your facial expression that you meant I changed the color of the car and I was like, “What? That doesn’t make any sense.” That’s what I was thinking–you’re the one who said it oddly, not me. I’m just here at the car show with my car.
W. You mean my car?
D. Um, no, ’cause it’s not.
W. You’re not a very good liar.
D. Excuse me–you mean I’m not a good truth teller, because that’s what I’m doing.
Willy then pulled a key out of his pocket and quickly locked the driver door with it.
W. Curious, this random key of mine happens to work on your car’s door. Isn’t that curious?
D. N-no, that’s…. No, it’s n-not, because y-you stole that key from me!
But that was enough of that. The group helped Willy help himself into his car. As Dew said, the rest of it is history.
I informed him that it was all, in fact, history, but I thanked him for the story. By now the jackets are probably distributed across almost the entire nation via online resale, but if not I might look into keeping one.