Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: Spring cleaning


I know, you're probably thinking, "But Seth, it's the beginning of March, it's not spring yet, because it's still winter."

Maybe. The weather this past month has been like a 4-year-old child rummaging through a closet and trying on random clothes. It's snowing! It's raining! It's a windchill of 11 below zero! It's warm enough I don't need a coat! March may come in like a lion and out like a lamb, but February has pretty much been an epileptic chimera. Also, Epileptic Chimera is the name of my heavy metal ska band.

Still, with February finally behind us, spring is around the corner, and that means that it's time to clean. Like all hygenic Americans, I clean things at a regular time every year. Spring cleaning is the time when I clear off my desk, dust the house, and take my annual shower.

Cleaning out my desk and shelves always results in a treasure trove of interesting finds. Last time I cleaned my desk I found some ancient unpaid bills, toenail clippers (presumed missing), a flashlight (presumed dead), throat drops (would probably make me dead if I ate them), and an RSVP card for a wedding that may, technically speaking, have occurred five years prior.

Naturally, I decided to RSVP for the wedding, because the food at the reception was delicious and I wouldn't want to miss it. I realize I am a horrible person for losing the RSVP cards, but they just sort of get into piles along with the save the date cards. Which I always thought, if you're inviting people named David to your reception, you could call "Sate the Dave" cards.

But at least I could still use a the wedding RSVP, albeit slightly late. Of less utility was the stack of business cards I unearthed, which I had collected over the years, for reasons that must have seemed clear to my past convention-attending self. My current self, meanwhile, really has no business holding on to business cards.

If a person is a friend, I probably already know how to get in touch with them. I have a few business cards from business people, but if I know what company they work for, I can reach them online. Then I have a number of business cards for people who I presumably met, but do not recall at all. I'm not sure under what circumstances I would need to contact such a person, but even if I did, I am sure that I would have no idea what to say. "Hi, Bob! I have your business card. ... No, I can't tell you how I got it, but ... if you're ever traveling through Massachusetts, please come introduce yourself so I can find out who you are."

As far as I can tell, business cards are completely useless now that the Internet exists. That's why when I found this pile of business cards, I immediately decided to throw out half of them. I am still saving half of them, just in case. As you might suspect, "just in case" is the hardest part of cleaning.

Because you can keep what you use, and throw out the expired coupons, but most of my possessions fall in the category of "Well, I don't want it now, but I MIGHT want it some day. Maybe I should keep it, just in case." And this is a sort of magical thinking, that the future me will be a very different person than I am now. But more likely, Future Seth will have a lot in common with me.

For example, I suspect he will be terrible at spring cleaning.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, the author of "From God To Verse", and is performing live with Epileptic Chimera on Feb. 30. His website is


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