Top Ten Things Not to do with Stuff You Find

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

This list was originally posted on October 18th, 2015. I think I might still be helpful.

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This list is inspired by going through some boxes recently and coming across some unusual things. Of course, most of what follows is made up, so I didn’t have these experiences. I would ask the Wall Street Journal to fact-check entirely before using this story.

Top Ten Things Not to do with Stuff You Find

10 If you find an unopened box, don’t open it. If you do, at best, you might find someone’s old toss-outs or laundry. At worst, you may find the remains of last year’s Thanksgiving dinner that was supposed to be thrown out. (You still can’t get the image out of your brain)

9 If you find a lawnmower at the side of the road, do not pick it up. If you do, at best, you will find out why it was thrown away. At worst, you will put it in a garage sale only to have the original owner accuse you of theft. (How he knew it was his is anyone’s guess)

8 If you find a lamp that has washed up on the beach, do not rub it. If you do, at best, it will turn out to be made in China. At worst, you will be given three wishes by a fierce-looking genie, and you won’t get it right. (You thought you would be clever when you asked for a million bucks and now have a deer-feed bill that won’t quit)

7 If you find what you think is a treasure chest in your backyard, leave it where it is. If you don’t, at best, you will find it full of smelly dirt. At worst, it will have things inside carrying a Blackbeard curse. (Go ahead and try to spend those doubloons before your hand falls off)

6 If you find what looks like a bomb in your garage, run away. If you don’t, at best, it is only a handmade school project. At worst, old man Jones finally made good on his threat to” blow you to kingdom come.” (Suddenly you remember he used to work for a demolition company)

5 If you find a set of golf clubs at a garage sale, don’t buy ’em. If you do, at best, you will find they weren’t worth what you paid for them, even if it was only a dollar. At worst, once you take up the game, you will find out why they were for sale in the first place. (How’s that high blood pressure medicine working for you?)

4 If you find a washer on the curb of your neighborhood, leave it there. If you don’t, at best, you will only be successful in relocating it to your curb. At worst, you will spend the time and trouble to hook it up only to find the spin, and the empty cycle doesn’t work.  (Soaking wet clothes weigh a ton. Right?)

3 If you find a strange object with colored lights in the woods behind your house, call the police. If you don’t, at best, it is only your neighbor testing the outdoor Christmas tree lights. At worst, you will be asked to join the expedition to a funny place where they will run experiments on you and then send you back. (You say no one believes your story? Really?)

2 If you find a note on the kitchen table, pretend not to see it. If you don’t, at best, it is an old shopping list. At worst, it is a goodbye note with the name of a lawyer at the bottom who is now your only contact. (And you thought being nice was something you didn’t have to do)

1 If you find a large, five-toed animal footprint in the yard, call animal control. If you don’t, at best, it is nothing but the neighbor’s new dog. At worst, it is the long-lost Yeti-like drooling, smelly, hairy thing that is now taking up residence in your shed and suddenly has a thing for you. (Just smile, and maybe it will go away).

77 comments

  1. John, I don’t have a favorite today – I could see myself in all of them!! (In fact I really did pick up a washer one time and I didn’t even have a washer hook-up at that apartment!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we all have done something like that. Seeing stuff discarded always brings out the “I can fix that,” DNA. Thanks, GP.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahaha, thank goodness! Someone understands me!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yessiree. Sound advice here, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. I can see you wrestling a washer into the trunk. (as in never) 😁

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      1. Hahahah!! You got that right! 😉

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  3. Morning, John! I like the golf clubs advice – although I don’t play golf, I know enough people to understand the love-hate relationship they have with the game!

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    1. When hate is more than 50% it is time to give it up. Thanks, Barbara.

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      1. Yes, and that’s good advice all around.

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  4. Best to stay on Old Man Jones’ good side . . .

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    1. Yeah. Good advice, Liz. 😁

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  5. Number five is so true!

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    1. It was with me anyway. Thanks, Jill.

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  6. I wish my dad had seen this list, John, He was famous for coming home with a lawn mower that, “once we fix this us, it will be good for that field next to the garden,”

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    1. I have one of those. During our move it was some how packed so that it never started again. I suspect the plug is fouled. Of course I don’t have a lawn so maybe I need to put it on the curb.

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      1. Haha. Someone else can take it 🙂

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      2. The Producer won’t let me park it out on the curb.

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      3. Well, that’s done.

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      4. Yes siree, Bob.

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  7. While I’ve not done #3, why is it that washers always quit on the spin cycle when there is a heavy load of towels or jeans?

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    1. Should have said four. (I haven’t done three either.) 😀

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    2. The washer devil knows how to inflict the most pain is why. 😁 Thanks, Joan.

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  8. I had a set of golf clubs from 1963 and tried to sell them at a garage sale recently, thinking they’d be valuable. They’re weren’t. Couldn’t sell them. Couldn’t give them away. Peeps must have read this post and been forewarned.

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  9. #3 doesn’t seem that bad. Free physical and possible fixing of a few health problems.

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  10. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Hilarious, John. 😂 And to think, 6 years ago but just as relevant today. Great job on the list! I kinda liked #1 the most because I’m always checking out footprints when I take my walks. Ya just don’t know what might be out there. 🐾🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And as Satchel Page once said, “Don’t look back cause something might be gaining on ya.” Thanks, Gwen 😁

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  11. Before Son #2 moved to Austin, we pulled several boxes out of storage to go through them. He’d cleaned out his room a few years ago and put them there, but forgot what was in them. We found some unexpected treasures, but also made a sizeable donation to Goodwill. You never know what might turn up.

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    1. Good thing the petrified taco wasn’t there too. 😁

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  12. Good ones, John, and for some unknown reason no. 3 is my favorite. 🙂

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    1. Might be because of the sci-fi reference. 👽

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      1. Well, I sometimes am pretty far out there. 🙂

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      2. We all are, Tim. 🤣

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  13. Great advice, John. 🙂 #6 had me chuckling.

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    1. Always good to chuckle, Jan

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  14. My sons used to bring home things from the curb. I think there’s still one weird chair upstairs somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As they say, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure.” Thanks, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. How I wish my Monkey could read this, John! He’s forever picking up trash on our walks — everything from used face masks and Band-aids to half-eaten apple cores and cigarette butts. Then I have to move Heaven and Earth to get him to drop his “prize” — ugh!

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    1. Twiggy used to do that but stopped. Maybe he will grow out of it. (There is no way to open a bulldog’s mouth once the jaw is set.)

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  16. If you find a cardboard box by the side of the road, you should one it. This is how puppies and kittens are thrown away!

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    1. I hate that people do that. Thanks, Noelle.😁

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  17. Yeti remained and smiled back. It might be a good thing. Or not…

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    1. Might also be gas.

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  18. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    We do stop at free signs, but never approach lights in the forest 🙂 Fun post, John !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are smart.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. #2 is wise. We left the old frig on the sidewalk for pick up. Hubby put a note on it says, ‘broken, takes $1,200 to fix.’ When we leave stuff on the sidewalk says, ‘free.’ It doesn’t take long for the drive by people to take them. The frig is heavy and we didn’t want people to waste time and get disappointed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind.

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  20. ‘Nada es verdad, mi amigo!’ (Just showing off my incorrect Spanish!)

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    1. Excepto lo que vive en la imaginación

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  21. This is an invaluable list! haha makes me think of the unabomber and opening an unidentified package that comes to the house :(.

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    1. Thank heavens I haven’t had one of those. Thanks, Luanne.

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      1. No kidding!

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  22. Great list, John, and I loved #1. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Lauren. Glad you liked it.

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  23. Sounds like you’ve experienced #’s 9, 5, & 4.

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    1. Hahaha. Not sayin’ Thanks for the visit.

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  24. petespringerauthor · ·

    I imagine it’s the same where you live, John, but I don’t get the relatively recent phenomenon of sticking out your junk on the curb and writing free on it. Is there anything less appetizing than that?

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    1. A sign that says “Free but you will be as sorry as me.”

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  25. Dear John,

    Great advice, still relevant. I once found an old refrigerator by the side of the road. I snapped a picture of it and went on my way. It made a great Friday Fictioneers prompt. 😉 Love this piece.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Rochelle. 😁

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  26. Great list, and advice John!
    Once ages ago I saw a brown paper bag in a parking garage, curious I looked inside and it had a half dozen coffee mugs in it. They looked new! No markings on the bag or mugs at all. It was just sitting in an empty parking spot. That was treasure and I think a very rare find.

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    1. I hope you gave them a new home.

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      1. I did eventually breaking all but one. I tossed it when we moved. 😀

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  27. I would never pick up the golf clubs. Hell, it’s like picking up a bill! 😉

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    1. Yes very dangerous.

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    1. Thanks for sharing the post, Michael.

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  28. Thanks for another helpful guide, John! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Michael. 😊

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  29. I think you should update this post and add an eleventh of what not to do with the gratuitous advice one finds on social messaging sites. How is that for gratuitous advice?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your advice serves many. Hows that for a gratuitous compliment? 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  30. This made me laugh out loud!

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