Not So Digital Footprint

Please don’t read this article and immediately contact the producers from the tv show Hoarders. I have a weakness. If you read this space on a regular basis, you know I have numerous shortfalls.

I never throw away anything. Once I get my mitts on something, it becomes part of my personal collection. I once was given the world’s ugliest brown office chair. The upholstery was made with material resembling burlap. Did it end up in the landfill?  Nope. It sits right next to my bed, against the wishes of my lovely wife. You see, I had a mentor, Jim, who invested in me way more than anyone else. He cared and correctly lectured me many times while I was in that sweaty chair. I took those lectures as pain decades ago. Now, I cherish those memories and I miss him more than you can ever imagine. Life moves fast. Sometimes, key figures move on to a higher calling. I just can’t get rid of the chair . . . ever.

I have a closet full of stuff 100 miles south of where I pen this essay. It’s in my parents’ attic. I have visitation rights with it about every five years. I just know my mother and father would love me to take those boxes to my Northside Sioux City home. But I would have to get rid of 20 years of radio industry magazines. Oh no. I shared too much. You’re calling the producers right now, aren’t you?

This generation now probably has a much bigger digital footprint than I will ever produce. However, my box of nostalgia has better memories than images from Instagram, Snapchat, and Lookeyatmeallthetimeville.  That’s a social platform, right?

Ok. If you are under 45, please avert your eyes.

My cherished keepsakes in a dusty old attic include mixtapes. Some of them were made for me, and some for pretty girls that were returned to me. By the way, mixtapes required taping tunes off the broadcast radio and mixed by a dual cassette recorder.  Man, that was 1989 magic, baby! A Spotify playlist is child’s play. This work of art was like Casey Casem painting on the ceiling of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, or something like that.

You’ll also find newspaper clippings from every Husker football win, a relative that won a spelling bee, or got arrested for stealing blank cassette tapes from Radio Shack. Printing off results from a Google search  just doesn’t pack the same punch.

This concept will be alarming to Tik Tokkers. I used to receive actual letters and birthday cards you can hold in your hands. They came from loved ones, my inner circle, girlfriends or someone I knew on some surface level basis of connection. I’m sure they have probably forgotten my name. 

Did some of those letters smell like Night Rhythms perfume from a high school double date of Sleepless in Seattle? You betcha! Researchers say the sense of smell will evoke the strongest memories and I clearly remember having sweaty palms even more than when I was sitting in the ugly brown office chair. My nerves were as high as the Empire State building.

Jelly Roll recently accepted a Country Music Association Award and said, “I want to tell you that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason, because what’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you.”

I agree with that statement. I also know that memories I can hold about amazing people who have graced my life and made it better are well-worth the closet space.

At least that’s what I’m going to say when the tv crews from Hoarders show up on my doorstep.

By Tony “Michaels” Michalski

See an article you like?

Share it with your friends on Facebook and make sure to like our page while you are there so that you don't miss out on other great stories.

You'll find us here >>>