by Steve Liddick

I had a scary thought. What if everyone had already sold or given away all of their used stuff and there were no more yard sales and thrift stores because there was nothing left to be sold or donated?

First, my friend Mike would have a nervous breakdown. Then a national day of mourning would be declared to observe the junque vacuum. Flags at half staff.

How would people furnish their homes? Where would they get nick-nacks to fill their shelves? To replace their cat-scratched sofas and their small appliances? If anyone wanted to read a book they would either have to get it from the library or—God forbid—buy it new. I can’t even imagine that. A paperback book should cost a quarter, as God intended. A hard cover book should cost no more than a dollar. The only books that should be allowed to be sold at full retail price are those I have written.

Publishers would be overjoyed to be charging full price, of course, but petroleum company executives would be outraged. Gas consumption would be down because millions of scavengers would no longer be driving around weekends looking for valuable art and artifacts to take to Antiques Road Show and get disgustingly rich.

You can’t have people driving less. Oil executives’ mansions cost money, you know. Tuition at top universities for their kids doesn’t come cheap. Who’s going to pay boarding and training fees for their race horses? Do you have any idea the psychological damage that would be done to be forced to give up their company jets—and golf? Have you no sympathy? Have you no humanity?

But wait. It just occurred to me that such a horrifying scenario can never occur as long as my friend Mike and I are alive. Between the two of us we already have enough junque to supply every yard sale and thrift store in America.