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Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Like many – it seems I’ve got a bit more time on my hands these days.

Time to sort through boxes of crap that got tucked away over the years ‘in case I needed it later’.

A stunning revelation -  I never needed the stuff to begin with.

I think it all started years ago when I decided to compete with the Marx Brothers’  A Night at the Opera with my own version – A Night at the Auction.

Armed with little to no knowledge whatsoever of auction savvy , I allowed myself to get roped into a charity auction benefitting some obscure group such as Politicians Without Indexed Pensions.

Unfamiliar as I was with the various protocols, I wandered through the room waving to folks who although unknown to me at the time, were seemingly waving at me and at the end of the evening, found myself the winning bidder on such coveted items as electric dog polishers, fur sinks, and cases of checkered paint.

It took a while but I eventually managed to re-gift the items to folks I wasn’t particularly fond of and vowed not to get caught up in that nonsense again.

A couple of years passed and another function popped up but this time with a silent auction in play.

If I read correctly, I’d enter a room that looked like a trade show setting for department store buyers, write my name and bid on a sheet of paper in close proximity to the item I wanted, and move on to the next temptation.

And then at the end of the evening, scoot around the room to ensure that my bid was high enough to allow me to head home with that one-of-a-kind chicken soup barbeque grill I’d been eyeballing.

Fast forward to 2019 where technology had perfected the art of smart-phone controlled silent auctions.

Days before the actual event itself, items up for bid are loaded on to a web-site where anyone in possession of a smart phone can log on with their avowed commitment.

What could possibly go wrong?

I now know that giving me control of a smart phone is a lot like putting Stevie Wonder behind the wheel of a Smart Car.

The unit itself may be brilliant as hell, but at the end of the road – disaster looms.

Just after midnight, we roll out of the event with enough merchandise that had we been getting set to board a flight, the excess luggage charges would have exceeded the cost of the business class ticket.

The fact we’d taken the sports car with a 19 cubic inch trunk to the event didn’t help matters much however my lovely bride’s expertise garnered from years of attending Dior’s “as many shoes as you can pack into your purse for 1 low price” saved the day.

And as we arrived home and began uncrating all this newfound treasure, the magnitude of what we’d acquired unfolded in all it’s splendor.

A canister of green tea which read – and I kid you not here – “ a delicately balanced blend of green tea, spearmint, lemon verbena and lemongrass frequently enjoyed before sessions of yoga, Pilates or yak herding”.

A second can of Herbal Infusion Tea bore the inscription, “did you know-bricks of tea were once used as currency in Tibet although the practice fell out of favor as it was often quite difficult to make change”.

I had not known either of these pearls of wisdom although I can certainly comprehend the challenges of quickly making exact change with tea leaves.

As well – there were various bags, boxes and packages of goofy items which we’ll leave aside in favor of the marquis item below.

It seems I’d been the successful bidder on a “Commercial style 58 mm convex end tamper with acrylic accents in an 18/10 stainless steel body – dishwasher safe”.

I was thoroughly stumped.

It had the overall appearance of a cold war era government stamping device that officials would use on everything from passports to detention orders to auction admission items.

Looking it up at 2AM on Mr. Google’s dictionary – I find that I’m now the proud owner of a device that’s used by professional chefs and baristas to create the perfect coffee puck.

Calling up Google one more time, I discover that a coffee puck is apparently the Zen of espresso creators in their quest to brew the perfect cup.

Of course it helps if you also have the $2500 Espresso machine to go along with the tamper.

Which as I scoured through the rest of the box I discovered – I did not!

It is however nifty enough I’m thinking of using it as a door knocker.

I can hardly wait until next year.

I’m told that some of the items up for bid will be the actual instruction booklets for items that are still sitting at the bottom of last year’s treasure chest.

Stay safe out there – and when all this is over – we’ll get together for a cup of tea and a yak.

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