January 12, 2006

When I heard the most recent spurt of research on sleep deprivation and grogginess, I had to laugh. I have new definitions for tired, these days.

Tired is when you don't dare sit down on the bus because you will fall asleep, and standing is not all that safe either. (Grateful to public transit so as not to be forced to walk or drive a car in a state of exhaustion less practically functional than a fair-sized drunk is old news.) Tired is when you choose not to pull another all-nighter after a month and more of alternating all-nighters, and just work until midnight instead -- yet even after arriving home in a swaying falling into the wall tired, half an hour or so is still needed to let the caffeine drain from the system ... which is how I happened, for a rare once, to catch Jay Leno at the same time as everyone else: and thus to discover Strange Things on E-Bay.

The Playstation box was very predictable (and sure enough the audience predicted it): especially if it had been offered for auction before Christmas, Playstations the Cabbage Patch Kids of this year. Three immediately-jump-to-mind possibilities apart from the outright scam-in-intent of the misleading title (I don't know enough about the listing to dismiss this option, although starting the bidding so low might have been a good indicator otherwise):A bit more research, however, reveals that for whatever reason, the buyer really didn't understand what was offered -- and indeed the wording (if not the context) does come across as just a little misleading:

PlayStation 2 Original Box And Receipt

Yes, the words are literally true. However, any number of advertisements in the local classifieds would have worded it almost exactly the same way: adding only, perhaps, a comma after "Playstation 2". (Ah, the value of the comma! in this case, over $400.)

But I do understand it, the odd allure of this single, uneaten, unwanted Brussel sprout. It is not just that the proceeds were to be made out to a charity. It certainly is not the value of the sprout, in and of itself. But a single lonely sprout, left behind in the clean-up after all else had been gustadored and was happily being digested, is a lingering echo of a family's Christmas joy and contentment.

What would we not pay, to hold a piece of that?

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