Ask a Dilettante – Mini Storage, Spam

I live in a two bedroom apartment, but I’ve run out of space for all my stuff. Is there a mini-storage facility you could recommend?

Unless you’re about to go overseas and have to lose the apartment, you don’t need mini-storage. What you do need is to go through your shit. If there are things you can live without long enough to put them in a climate-controlled box away from your home, I will posit that you can live without those things permanently.

Why is it that homes are bigger than ever, yet there never seems to be enough room for our stuff? The self-storage industry is booming, with 1 in 10 US households renting a unit. Is it Ikea’s fault? Has our ability to purchase particleboard furniture at rock bottom prices caused us to buy a bunch of crappy furniture we don’t really need yet can’t make ourselves throw away? If so, the money saved by going Ikea is negated by the money spent having to rent a one-room apartment for your furniture. Why should you furniture have its own place? You had to wait until you graduated from high school before you got yours. If your furniture wants to live on its own, it can go out and get a job.

Other than spreading computer viruses, does spam actually do anything? Who opens those ridiculous messages?

Dilettante’s email service is pretty good about catching spam. However, a message with the subject line “Myself and you, son Harry, will towards Wales To fight with Glendower and the Earl of March” crept through this morning. I had to open it. Obviously.

The message was in two parts. The top section was a simple box with an ad for a Canadian pharmacy carrying items such as “Viagra Jelly.” Yummy on a toasted English muffin. Under the advert was what appeared to be random sentences grabbed willy-nilly from works of fiction, user manuals and math texts. It’s either experimental fiction or a way to get around spam filters. Maybe both.

Though you may not be in the market for a lotion that will enlarge parts of your body, it seems plenty of other people are. And that’s the rub. Pardon the pun. Maybe spam speaks to our greatest insecurities, offering us things that we wouldn’t actually search for on our own. Maybe you don’t realize how unsatisfied your partner is until you read a spam message alerting you to that fact. Maybe you really would like to chat up a lonely woman from another country. Maybe spam holds the key to getting your life together, if only you would open the message and accept the help being offered. For a fee, of course.

Come on, Viagra jelly?

[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]