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An obsession, a lifestyle, a curse

February 6, 2004

sick sick ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>At a certain size, you start letting the experts do the measuring. Boats – believe the manufacturer. Homes? Your realtor’s bonded. Anything over 50 feet or s0, you’d rather see a pair of guys in hazard-orange tunics and hardhats fiddling with lasers than trust your own wits and tools. Mis-measured real estate lands in court, and poorly calculated building-materials orders leave you with either holes in your house or an extra truckload of fancy firewood. This is a tool for settling disputes, a spring-steel peacemaker on a reel, clad in leatherette and trimmed in chrome. It’s a Keuffel & Esser Co. Favorite Wyteface (Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.) They go for about $10 on eBay, which is a damn sight cheaper than you’ll pay for a new Stanley that size.
I collect heavy little things.

Tools, for sale parts, toys, instruments, tchotchkes – the weight of some new thing in my hand, often small, metallic and well machined, compels me to add it to my life.

It’s instinct by now. I can’t say why these things are important, or why I haven’t bothered cataloguing them until this day – they almost litter my office, my pockets, my car, my home. But this is as good a place to start as any.

Filed under: Blahg | Comments (3)


  1. Jeffrey Bary May 10, 2004 @ 8:36 am

    This type of thing was quite popular at one time and was called a “Cabinet of Wonders” or a similar title. Although the creators of these cabinets often claimed some overirding theme I suspect like myself and yourself they were just random collections of stuff that accumulated over the years.

    The Brooklyn Museum featured one of the better examples of one of these cabinets several years ago in a show called “The Guennol Collection: Cabinet of Wonders” which I was able to see. Here’s a reference:

    which may point you toward the catalog.

    -Jeffrey Bary (Fellow Junk Collector)

    New York University

  2. mack reed May 10, 2004 @ 9:05 am

    I would love to have seen that show.

    No, if there’s any order to the totality of stuff I’m accumulating here, it’s being applied artificially as I produce each post. The only thing any of these objects has in common is the little “Hunh!” I probably muttered before picking each one up and keeping it for good.

  3. studio journal » 2007 » December » 05 December 4, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

    […] I recently found an archived blog that seems to start simple, and becomes poetic.  It’s done now,  but it’s still there to read.  Read “Heavy Little Things” if you have a few moments.  I came across a few choice ones accidentally, and am now reading a few a day, from the beginning.  […]