JAW's law

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 43, No. 4, May 2001, Page 192 Editorials

We all experience occasional interludes in our daily unplottable travels into chaos when we retreat briefly into the land of alpha waves. Some of my recent self-hypnotic states have been even more obscure than the usual bizarre, unconnected stuff my subconscious regularly dredges up. I'm not sure if this is a sign of my impending central nervous system Armageddon or that the universe is suddenly bombarding us with some new quirky, famtosecond energy pulses. During one of my more delightful reveries I serendipitously formulated a new universal law: Wilson's Law of Infinite Garage Sale Recycling.

I am convinced that this simple and now obvious observation fills all the requirements to be added to the list of universal laws, and I hope Stephen Hawking is reading this.

I was recently drawn into the garage-sale scene when both of my in-laws decided to abandon sentience for their eternal repose within a short time of one another. Both were members of the weekend garage sale subculture, and over the years they had managed to collect enough bric-a-brac to overwhelm the Hermitage. When viewing this mountain of material, family members made the only possible decision: have a garage sale. The preparations were mind-boggling, but with every available family member and some close friends helping, we managed to get this veritable mountain of useless stuff out on several massive tables in the driveway and on every available square centimetre of lawn.

Before sunrise, there were people outside in their cars waiting for it all to begin. The early birds were perched on the boulevard like a flock of eager vultures. To my surprise most of the stuff disappeared in short order, carted down the driveway by people wearing satisfied, almost beatific smiles after haggling down to $1.75 for a Mickey and Goofy cream and sugar set, which I guess is a hell of a steal.

Looking back on all this it occurred to me that this garage sale stuff would continue to be recycled through infinity as successive generations devolve into what is apparently a genetically determined weekend behavior pattern, ergo Wilson's Law of Infinite Garage Sale Recycling. The proof that this law likely has a genetic driver will almost certainly come now that the human genome has been successfully decoded. I'm now certain that one of the decoders is going to find a garage sale locus and confirm a whole cascade theory.

The only problem is that I fear I may have suffered a mutation at the theoretic locus, because I've recently found myself thinking about garage sales, usually early in the afternoon on a Friday. I fear I'm lost—can anyone help?


James A. Wilson, MD. JAW's law. BCMJ, Vol. 43, No. 4, May, 2001, Page(s) 192 - Editorials.

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