So, what fabulously controversial subject shall we talk about today? Bonds for public libraries and swimming pools? The relative merits of local law enforcement?
Ooh, I know! How about last week's Supreme Court decisions regarding same-sex marriage? Wouldn't you just love to see America's least-thoughtful columnist wade into that tiki-bar fight?
Well, too bad. I wouldn't touch that topic with a 10-foot ABC News/Washington Post poll. Look, I've already been labeled both a "racist" and an "anti-Mormon" this past week, just for offering my opinion on an outdated amusement ride at Lagoon. And while the former charge certainly hurts, I suppose I wouldn't object to the latter so much if it meant I could stop doing three hours of church every Sunday.
This week, I've decided to talk about something that couldn't possibly anger anyone.
A while back, a co-worker and I got into a discussion about how he was wearing a pair of socks with holes in them. He was rather sheepish about the fact he hadn't thrown them out long ago and was still wearing them.
I assured my colleague I could go him one better: At home, I've got an entire drawer filled with single socks -- all lacking even so much as a reasonable facsimile of a mate, and each of which has a huge, gaping hole in it.
A single sock with a hole in it. Is there anything quite so useless?
And yet with each of these solo socks, I keep thinking that someday, somehow, the other one will magically turn up. And that then, just as magically, I'll decide to darn the holes in both of them.
This did get me thinking about all the other useless things we hold onto in our lives. Things like:
* Old magazines. Like you'll ever read that Family Circle from September 1997 again.
* Assorted nuts, bolts, screws and nails. Out in the garage I keep a large can of hardware I've cannibalized from various gizmos.
* Batteries. Old, long-dead alkaline batteries of various sizes. I keep these on the off chance that, over time, they somehow miraculously recharge themselves.
* Decks of cards that are not quite full, and jigsaw puzzles that are missing one or more pieces. Because you never know when the missing object might turn up in the bottom of a drawer somewhere -- beneath a three-deep layer of ballpoint pens that dried up sometime around the airing of the final "M*A*S*H" episode.
But you think I'm a pack rat? When my mother passed away, my sisters and I had to go through and clean out her house. As she was a child of the Great Depression, it quickly became apparent she didn't believe in throwing anything away.
For example, you know those little plastic bread tabs used to close the bag on a loaf of bread or hamburger buns? My mother had the world's largest private collection of those things.
She also kept thousands of old buttons, slivers of bar soap too small to be effective, tons of flimsy plastic containers that originally held things like cottage cheese and nondairy whipped topping, and wall calendars dating back half a century. (Technically, wouldn't the dates and days of the week all match up again every seven years or so?)
But the kicker? My mother kept all the owner's manuals for stuff she no longer owned. I mean, how weird is it that she threw out the Proctor Silex coffeemaker, but kept the manual?
I suppose no weirder than an active Mormon being called anti-Mormon.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @Saalman.