Hoarding Humor

CJ Moore | Oct 20, 2010 @ 02:23 PM

Hoarding is funny.

If you didn’t think so already, Wednesday’s episode of “South Park” (watch the preview) will most likely convince you there is humor in hoarding.

In the episode titled “Insheeption,” Stan realizes he has a problem with hoarding and is sent to the school counselor to talk about his problem. Cue up the stereotypes and hoarding jokes.

Hoarding and self storage have become must-see TV this year, as two reality shows about self storage auctions will debut this fall, and A&E already has the show “Hoarders.”

Some people might consider hoarding a serious problem – when you Google it, the third result is a link to the Mayo Clinic – but I’ve always found it kind of funny. And getting a self storage unit can be a healthy way to hoard, because the collection of possibly unnecessary items will not engulf your home. And, as a hoarder would say, you never know when you’re going to need a (fill in the blank).

Hoarding stories always give me a chuckle. My grandpa is a hoarder and sometimes it comes in handy. When the mother-son/father-daughter dance was hippie themed when I was in high school, all I had to do was take a trip to my grandpa’s basement to find some sweet polyester pants and a pretty happening silk button-up shirt. Grandpa is notorious for picking up stuff off the side of the road. My dad will ask him, “What are you going to use that for?” He always has an answer, but the real answer is to take up some more space in his shed.

I believe my grandpa’s generation hoards because of the Great Depression. They value possessions more so than most and make sure not to waste anything. It’s the eat-everything-on-your-plate-young-man philosophy.

I used to think my grandpa was one of a kind, and then I witnessed our local trash company’s annual large-item pickup.

My mom had a bunch of junk out this past year. Almost every house in the city had stuff out to be picked up. However, most of the trash doesn’t actually end up in the trash. Instead, the hoarders come out in droves to accumulate more stuff.

There’s a reason most of the junk is being thrown out. It’s either broken, dated or just plain ugly. But to the hoarders, everything’s a treasure.

Trucks and vans filed up and down my mom’s street, a rarely-traveled cul-de-sac in a Kansas City suburb. Less than an hour after I hauled my mom’s crap to the end of the driveway, it was almost all gone. The only thing left was the frame to a bunk bed with a bottom bunk that turned into a futon. No mattresses, just the frame. I thought it might actually end up in the trash.

But as I was playing outside with my nephews, a couple in an old Chevy truck pulled up. The bed of the truck was already packed full, items stacked above the large wooden side rails, crap poking out of the sides.

I watched with bug eyes as the couple got out and surveyed the bunk bed.

“Looks like you’re pretty full,” I said. “We can hold onto this if you’re able to come back soon.”

Of course, he was not risking the chance that this “treasure” would get gobbled up by someone else.

“Oh, we’ve got space,” he said.

And he was right. He found a way, cramming in the dissembled parts into the unseen crevices of the truck bed, and attaching the largest piece onto the very back of the bed, essentially making it a back railing.

Stan might not match the ridiculousness of the hoarding couple and their pickup, but I’m going to be sure to tune in. The episode airs first on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.