Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hereditary stockpiling

Know the terrain.

Neuroscience is a fascinating field for me. I've been reading books about it for the last year and I'm still eager to get my hands on any new book about it that I can find. Reading and learning about how the human mind works, the neurons, it's ability to work around damages and the way it stores memories while simultaneously processing incoming information non-stop is like heroin to me.

This hobby (obsession?) of mine has led me to learning some interesting things about behavior, particularly in how some unexpected behaviors are believed to be hereditary and not learned. Steven Pinker talks about in his book The Blank Slate, which is currently on my list to read after The Female Brain. Instead of going on a rant about various discoveries in this field, I'm going to explain one that I've found in myself.

I stockpile stuff. I'm a pack rat. Oddly though, I'm only a pack rat when it comes to certain things. I don't care about hanging on to most clothing--I can throw out old socks, shirts, pants, underwear, or shoes easily--nor do I care about old computer parts. Old cereal and leftovers I gladly throw away because my parents would always make me finish the box off before opening a new one and I hated the powdery, broken pieces that fall to the bottom. (Similarly, though unrelated to the topic, I usually park in the back of parking lots now because I didn't like driving around for a spot as a kid either.) The things I do stockpile are usually trinkets, meaningless gadgets or objects of what I think to be an interesting nature, and candy.

Little piece of Heaven.

I don't eat candy often, maybe one or two Dove Dark Chocolate Promises a day and at most a small bowl of ice cream per week. I just don't have a sweet tooth these days. But I love stockpiling candy. Something about having it available, having my pick of any candy bar or chocolate I want within arms reach is comforting. I started this years ago--I used to buy three to four candy bars at a store and eat them over the next two months--but only last year did it really become habitual.

When I was working on a film set last year there were candy bars available for free the entire time as is custom on film sets. Since I was basically a runner/errand boy I made several trips to the food truck daily and made friends with Darcy, the cool lady who owned the snack company with her husband. They had every candy bar you could think of as well as every other various snack food, and every time she'd see me running to the truck for a something for the Director of Photography or one of the camera operators, she'd give me a candy bar. I started just putting them in pockets since four to five candy bars a day is quite a few to stomach. When I got home, I emptied my pockets into a shoebox. Thus began the stockpile.

My collection looks like this.

Over the month I was there the shoebox became packed full of candy bars of every kind. Then when I got my furniture I moved the candy from the shoebox to a desk drawer. It only took about half the room in the drawer, so, again, I started picking up candy bars in twos and threes and fours and filling the drawer. Eventually I organized it, neatly stacking the candy on each other so they'd fit better. A 32 pack of granola bars finally filled the drawer. (In the last year the granola bars have mostly been eaten and the space has been filled with Cadbury Creme Eggs and protein bars.)

When I started working IT for this company and moved into my own office, I found I had six big drawers in my desk. I only had four drawers worth of work stuff, so, naturally, the other two drawers slowly became candy drawers. In the 9 months since then, the drawers are now full of neatly-packed candy and snacks (almonds) just like the drawer at home. Now, whether at work or at home, I have no less than 30 candy bars of every variety within arms reach. And yet when I want something sweet, I just get a bowl of plain yogurt from the refrigerator and add some fresh fruit. Or maybe a single Dove Dark Chocolate Promise if I'm feeling in need of chocolate.

Like father, like son.

The reason I mention this is because when I went home over Christmas, while talking to my Dad in his office, I noticed something on his desk: a gallon-size Ziplock bag filled entirely with candy bars, untouched for what looked like years based on the candy bar logos. My Dad once told me that he thinks I'm more like him than either of my siblings, and I think I agree.

And I'm ok with that.

1 comment:

--jeff * said...

in a few years, caleb is going to LOVE coming to visit you....