(Scottsboro, AL) As you walk into the Unclaimed Baggage Center here in Scottsboro, the first thing you notice is the smell. “What could that be?” you think to yourself, “How would I even describe this? It’s like something went wrong with nature.” However, your olfactory senses quickly adjust and the smell falls back into the depths of your mind as you begin to notice what lies around you. Bags and bags of luggage scatter the floor, spilling over with lost goods and forgotten dreams. This is what you came for, the best part of thrifting, the mysteries. Let’s see what we can find.
It has been said (by me) that the way we approach a thrift store says a lot about who we are as people. For instance, some prefer to look through entire sections with reckless abandon, hoping that something jumps out at them. Others meticulously search every nook and cranny for the exact thing they want. Myself, I like to just wander the store, soaking in the Hall and Oates playing over the speakers, and let the gods of thrift speak to me. As I did this in Scottsboro, I was immediately drawn to a cool looking jacket I saw in the men’s section.
I walked towards the jacket, like a tiger stalking its prey, not wanting to frighten it away, but also moving briskly to avoid losing a good jacket to some jabroni with a slightly faster gait. I pull the jacket off of the rack and know instantaneously that it fits. And I look good in it. As I am looking myself up and down in the mirror, I notice the slightest of bulges in the upper breast pocket. What could this be?
Inside I found a note that looked like it had been written years ago. It was yellow from time and almost fell apart as I opened it to read. The note was simple, but it could not have been more crucial. All it said was, “I did it. It was me. I cause oblivion to come and no one will ever know but me. The world is doomed and I fear I am being swallowed by the void.”
Right away, I knew my life would be forever change. I called my boss, my wife, and my therapist and told them I was quitting. “Quitting what?” they asked. “Life. Or, at least, this one.” With that, I sold the worldly belongings I owned that my wife wouldn’t need and went on the road, calling myself a private investigator (because who would check?) and sniffing out clues. This, is where I remain, telling you this story.
One day I hope it will have an ending, but for now, I leave you with this cool jacket I found at a thrift store in another life. Take it. I don’t need it anymore.
This article was written by Nathan Ellwood, who only owns things that were rejected from a thrift store. Follow him @NPEllwood.