Musings on life’s clutter

Every Christmas, I seem to collect a set of gadgets that I enjoy receiving, but rarely ever use. I added at least three items this year: a rimroller, an LED flashlight about the size of a loonie, and a lock de-icer, all equipped with key rings. I keep my keys in a leather pouch to save damage to pockets, so never use key rings. All these new devices will likely end up in the corner of a drawer.
The rimroller might come in handy when Tim Hortons repeats its roll-up-the-rim contest. The little device unrolls the rim of the cup so you can quickly and efficiently check to see what you have won (I usually get, Try Again). I suppose I could throw it in the car and hope to remember it when Tim announces the next contest.
The LED flashlight might fit into my leather key case, so it has some hope of living a useful life. The lock de-icer could prove useful on those few days in the winter when the car doors freeze shut. Its feeler, theoretically heated by two triple-A batteries and designed to poke into a key hole, doesn’t get hot. I can make it work by taking it apart but, when reassembled, it no longer works. It also has a built-in LED flashlight, so I can always remove its heater and add it to my flashlight collection.
Not all gifts arrive at Christmas. A few years back, my wife gave me a tiny pink bear wearing phony Easter-bunny ears and holding a banner that says Happy Easter. It now sits mutely on a shelf in my room because, somewhere along the way, it lost its banner.
An author friend presented me with an item to promote his latest book. This battery-powered device fastens onto a book and lights the page for reading in bed. I never read in bed; I go to sleep listening to the radio. In order to reduce the drawer clutter, I’ll happily give it to anyone who wants it. Just ask.
I have a few gadgets tucked away in one corner of my desk that fit the general classification of tools. I like the lazer level with built-in tape measure and have actually used it to position pictures on the wall. I don’t often hang pictures, but the tape comes in handy.
Somewhere along the way I acquired a multi-bladed jackknife and crescent wrench combination with its own holster. I strap it on when riding my bicycle, but it gets little use in the winter and I didn’t ride much during the last two summers. Stuck in the same corner I have a pocket-sized toolbox containing two more combination knives and tools and a key chain with an LED light. I’m still wondering how to make use of that set.
Last week, I stood looking at various mementos brought back from overseas and housed in our china cabinet. A wooden model of an Indonesian bicycle-rickshaw caught my eye when I noticed something or someone sitting on the seat. Reaching in I picked up a tiny wind-up robot of forgotten origin. I wound him up, watched him shuffle across the table, then put him back. At least he has a use: the little plastic robot keeps the carved, wooden rickshaw man company. 
Although fun to talk about, I find it sad that these little things we don’t need, but won’t throw out, too often parallel the ideas and philosophies that occupy our minds. 

Ray Wiseman