Some years ago I moved from a large house in Chicago to a small cottage in Sawyer, Michigan. I had no choice but to deal with the STUFF.

It was not just my own STUFF, but my deceased parent’s STUFF and much of my grandparent’s STUFF as well. My solution had always been to stow it in the attic. Now there wasn’t going to be an attic. It was almost too much to bear.

I realized I had to rent storage. It was like admitting I needed a shrink. Following an afternoon of frantic googleing, I found thirty-two storage companies. Self-storage, mini-storage, public storage, pick-up and delivery storage. Air conditioned, heated, climate-controlled storage. Storage with video surveillance, drive-up storage, storage with purified air, fireproof, sprinkler system, computer monitored, round the clock access.

It was all terribly confusing until I turned a page and saw an ad for A-American Storage, touting themselves as “America’s storage pioneers.” This struck a patriotic chord in me. After all, what could be more American?

I have since accepted the rent I pay for storage as a natural part of life. I tell myself it’s just the same as paying a deadbeat son’s apartment. My stored menagerie has become an old friend. No wonder the storage business is going through the roof – no pun intended. It is the growth industry of today. There is a storage solution for every sub-group in our culture. Is your STUFF complaining about din from the adjacent highway? Move it to a storage space out in the country. Is your STUFF lonely? Take it to “Storage City,” where it can fraternize with other STUFF, close in age and interests. Are antiques your game? Check out a mature storage community. Is your STUFF forgetting what kind of STUFF it is? Move it into a senior-assisted storage community.

Today, I passed an establishment just off the interstate called “Ye Olde Storage Inn.” It must be for British folks who want to lift a pint with their stuff. I’ve even noticed that the motels of a certain chain look suspiciously like a combination motel and storage container. I could hardly believe it. Could this chain actually be marketing to people who want to sleep with their stuff?

The idea sounds zany and preposterous, but it is unquestioningly true. Yes, it’s come to this. A sad time when people can’t tell the difference between human beings and what amounts to a glut of material goods that can’t speak or hug you back.

And yet, to a certain group, in our increasingly estranged society, stuff is everything. It defines you, creates the type of pride formerly reserved for pets. And it’s dog friendly too. Get ready for it, Red Roof Inn will soon be replaced by “Bunk With Your Junk,” a chain vowing to bring your stuff together. It will promise you and your stuff an inclusive and nostalgic time.

Sounds good to me. I hate to be away from my Lladro figurines and my grandmother’s sewing machine table.

We’ve got you covered. If you’re a smoker, we have a chain called “Puff With Your Stuff.”

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