There’s Money To Be Made in Selling Dead People’s Stuff
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
I’ve gotten deep into the business mindset. Thinking about one thing obsessively in this material realm brings about numerous opportunities to gain from it. In my case, I needed money. My small trickle of cash had shut off. So I thought about deposits, dollars, dimes, and all assortment of cents piling up around me as I slept.
But thinking isn’t enough, usually. I hopped into action. I threw a halfhearted Dear Dirty America fundraiser. I sold my famous friend, Hubert Humdinger‘s stuff online. All of it for a pittance. All of it fruitless.
In what I believe was a timely reminder and gift of mercy from the Creator, I got into selling new and lightly used goods online.
Items I found at yard sales, secondhand stores, and pawn shops. ‘Like new’ products lined our living room. Toasters. Coffee grinders. Salad spinners. Bricks of never opened cassette tapes. Spindles of CDs. Stereo speakers. Kids stuffed toys.
Most of it had a light layer of grime that I wiped off easily with a wet rag. A lot of it had that resale store smell. Lingering mothball scent. But I was not above polishing it up and shipping it out to be sold.
The income I built up each week was a gift of mercy. The constantly shifting materials a solid reminder of our lives in a constant state of flux, and heading ever closer toward breakdown and annihilation.
ONE DANGEROUS OBSERVATION & YOUR PERSPECTIVE IS BLOWN OPEN
When our only couch was completely filled and our single bedroom apartment was loaded nearly to the ceiling with grubby retail goods, and surrounded by cardboard boxes, rolls of packing tape, packing slips, dirty rags, and bottles of goo remover, my wife, having had enough of the scene, let me have it:
“I can’t believe my husband who has a Master’s degree is in the business of selling dead people’s stuff.”
If you’re sensitive like I am — I mean perceptive to new information — you might imagine I instantly saw those stacks, piles, and rows of inventory differently.
When I looked at the cherry red toaster (in mint condition minus a light scuff) I saw the drawn, pale lips of a face locked in thought, trapped in the human condition, awaiting another stressful morning. Death on the freeway? Disease-ridden end in a hospital? I couldn’t tell, except that it was sooner than expected.
The plush baby toy, still in its box, brand new, from the secondhand store, was suddenly a painfully unnecessary item for a family who suffered a tragedy.
And who had spun that jaunty little salad spinner, and why did the stiff hand clutching the handle look so much like a claw?
Fractured spirits clung to nearly every item. Would I want to prepare food or decorate my house with other people’s stuff?
I’d been working like a donkey, selling out from dead people’s loaded kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, and closets. All of it, maybe once dear to somebody, left behind and scattered into the fast moving channels of online commerce.
My main prayer these days is this: O Lord, when I die, don’t let my spirit cling to anything but your eternal, merciful essence.
I don’t want to cling to a stunted consciousness, divided, and leave a crucial piece of my awareness tugged around and ending up trapped in somebody’s bathroom or kitchen cupboard.
My wife’s other complaint was that everywhere she sat or touched, she started to itch. She felt the bacteria from the used (like new) goods crawling over her skin, searching for a vulnerable spot to burrow. My wife is Middle Eastern, and she pronounces itch like etch. I don’t know if it’s true about the bacteria. But I too had experienced the etching sensation.
LIGHTNING QUICK INSPIRATION IS WHEN YOU WANT TO ACT
All that talk about mortality and material goods had me thinking. Our globalist leaders pushing us into an economy of impermanent, freelance jobs. People always on the clock. Always held accountable to check emails before going to bed and upon waking up in the morning. A world flooded with information.
The new economy. The mega cities, packing people in with hopes of work and money. Lonelier than ever as more folks are marooned behind their computers, locked in expensive, prison cell apartments, drifting away only in indulgent bursts of visual entertainment. Very little community left.
Yet, ego remains everything to us. Legacy and memory. Imprinting our unique brand on earth. It’s what most Facebook friends are subconsciously trying to do. Whether they know it or not. It’s like trying to force your thumbprint onto a rock.
Here’s how I perceived the bottom line:
Getting an impressive turnout at your funeral would be next to impossible. That realization is bound to disturb a fair number of people.
I knew I could find a few chaps off the Internet classifieds who would be happy to dip on some cologne, jump into an old suit, and attend a funeral for $10 an hour. It’s a fine service to fit a dire need.
“Pad the attendance to your loved one’s funeral for a very affordable price. Our clean, professional attendees come ready to say the right thing. Equipped with a range of comforting phrases, these men and women will fit in easily at the funeral of an atheist or the most devoutly religious.”
I’m developing the marketing materials as you read this. Patent is on the way. I’ve got the company phone number on a pink slip next to my computer. Just in case, I’ve put in my will to turn ownership over to my wife in case I pass first. I did not tell her about this business. It just don’t think she’d be interested.
UNLIKE NPR, WE ARE NOT FUNDED BY GLOBAL ELITES
Money comes in different ways. Not just selling dead people’s stuff, nor holding lackluster fundraisers by pummeling your five or six reliable blog readers with stirring calls to action, such as,
“If you value the content we provide here at DDA, you’ll not hesitate to give back to preserve this magnificent resource. Unlike NPR, we are not funded by the Rockefellers. We count on your hard earned dollars to back us up.”
Not that we wouldn’t take money from the Rockefellers. It’s just that they’ve never offered. My style of writing and thinking doesn’t usually fit their agenda. But one unexpected, one-time opportunity for income did arrive in my email inbox. Actually, it’s been arriving once every couple of days from a man named Barnabus Rothschilde.
Rothschilde has been offering me $250 for ownership of Dear Dirty America. He says it’s generous. He says I’ll still be invited to write articles and won’t be restricted in any way. I’m holding out for $300.
I told my wife, “You know, I might be able to hang up the old secondhand store selling license,” one day after she complained about etching. “I could pull in a few cool hundred bucks to sell my blog to a major global capitalist. If I invest it right, we could retire.”
I don’t know why people with powerful last names try to buy me out of my creative endeavors. Hubert Humdinger, the cultural philosopher, doesn’t think it’s so strange.
“He likes the domain name. He likes the premise of the title,” Humdinger told me over a shaky Skype connection.
“Rothschilde probably wants DDA as another tool to foster an American civil war, where he can publish articles about the dirty, racial politics of the USA and promote strife between whites and blacks, Christians and Muslims, police officers and citizens.
“DDA could become nothing more than another cog in the wheel of perpetual discord operated and driven by the elite families and their demons. People like Rothschilde are promised by these demonic entities eternity and given grand visions of heavenly pleasure after they die, as long as they create as much pain and suffering on earth as possible. Everybody knows demonic forces feed off emotional agony like your neighbor feeds on pizza. And trusting a demon is like sneaking up on a cobra from behind.”
Humdinger shrugged, wiped his forehead with a rag, and then said, “Maybe not. I’m just basing that off of what close friends have told me.”
Either way, the lesson is, if you focus on what you want in this material world hard enough and long enough, mediocre opportunities will arrive. Your Rothschilde will appear. Don’t them hoodwink you into anything devious. Don’t let money master you into trading what’s most precious for a small stipend of what’s impermanent.
When opportunities come, it’s up to you. Seize them. Or let them go. But it probably really isn’t up to you. You’ll do what you were meant to do. Don’t take it too harshly because eventually your ticket will be called. Your timer will reach zero. The Angel will arrive. And you’ll be pulled out of your body either like a hair from soft butter or a screaming, lock-kneed donkey on its bridle from the shaded stall of a barn and out into the glaring sun.
You decide. Or, again, maybe it’s not your decision.
A NEW, CLEANER BUSINESS, BUT STILL BASED ON DEATH
Despite all the etching, one evening my wife helped me pack up the latest round of goods to be shipped to the warehouse to be sold. We had just packed and repacked half a dozen large boxes with impressive skill and much sweating. I was again feeling positive about eCommerce. Building an empire. Reaching a safe level of financial freedom and independence over time.
After the boxes were weighed, sealed, and marked, and just as I was about to sit down and begin the online paperwork, my wife, furiously scratching her arms, said, “Who’s going to come to our funeral? We don’t know anybody.”
I made a few clicks on the computer like I hadn’t heard her. The thought was overwhelming. Extra weight seemed to pile on my shoulders. It is hard enough to make a living, much less court friends with the kind of intensity it would take to insure they’d show up at our funerals. Hence the reason I was starting my other business.
Finally, I handed her the pink slip and said, “Nobody, probably. But if I go before you do, make sure you hold onto this number and order liberally.”
[header photo free, courtesy of Ryan McGuire @ Gratisography.com; yard sale selling courtesy Jimmyjazz at Wikimedia Commons; empty funeral photo courtesy Mestos, Wikimedia Commons; Riot cops courtesy Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons]