Cleaning out the shoebox of long-dead relationships

In the back of my closet, behind my puppet collection (seriously) and next to the giant bag of por ... uh, puppy stickers, is a simple gray shoebox. It doesn't stand out because it's not supposed to; it's supposed to blend in and disappear to the point that even I forget it's there.

Everybody has one, even if they don't admit it. It's the box where we keep the remains of our long dead relationships. For some it's a refrigerator box; sadly for me a shoebox seems to suffice.

I don't know what most people's boxes contain, but mine has the photos, letters, receipts for pregnancy tests and condom wrappers that serve as the historical markers in the graveyard of my love life.

Can you imagine the guide on that tour?

"We're walking, we're walking, We're stopping. OK, here we see the 'disastrous first love' exhibit. It includes the ticket stub from "The Blair Witch Project," which Jarid chose as their first date. Also, a vial of tears Jarid cried after learning he was unable to unlock the mysteries of the front-clasp bra.

"Finally, here we see the piece de resistance, a citation Jarid received after being caught by a very understanding police officer."

(Before you get the wrong idea, the citation was for trespassing and not whatever other sick idea is being considered).

"Up ahead is the 'missed opportunities wing.' It is quite lengthy so I advise you use the bathroom before we enter."

Anyway, I found my shoebox the other day while searching for a quarter and decided to open it.

Inside I discovered memories related to the best and worst moments of my life. A letter from a former girlfriend from a college summer we were apart, a ceramic figurine of an angel holding a heart, a picture from an old flame holding my birthday present.

Or more accurately, wearing my birthday present. Hello, that's getting moved to the bag with the por ... puppy stickers in it.

In looking through the box, I discovered two things.

One, I apparently have some disease that makes me raise my eyebrow or open my mouth when a camera is around.

Think I'm kidding, look at the far eye in the picture with this column " I'm so trying to suppress that eyebrow. Second, the pictures revealed the reason my box is so small. It's because my historical markers are everywhere.

Half the clothes in my closet? Presents from former flames.

Picture frames? Used to hold pictures of us.

Stuffed animals? Wait, what, no. No self respecting man owns stuffed animals. But if I did have a rabbit wearing a Hawaiian shirt named Sir J. Snicklefritz who lived on my pillow, it would be because he was a present and not because he protects me from spiders.

I recently read an article about how important it is to get rid of these "tokens" to help bring the relationship to a close. Perhaps set aside a special night and go through them or invite a friend over and cry together.

Really, I'm not making this up; these are actual suggestions.

"Hey Eugene, it's Jarid calling. I got a favor to ask. Can you come over Friday night and help me clean out my closet. I just need the emotional support. Oh, and could you bring some tissues. The ones with the aloe, not the scratchy kind."

CLICK (dial tone).

This expert went on to say that not doing this causes you to continue to carry the pain of the relationship with you into new relationships.

Maybe that's my problem, I have ex-girlfriend stink on me. Future girlfriends are getting a bad vibe because of the abundance of keepsakes in my house.

Or maybe it's the puppy stickers scattered all over the place.

Your call.

What's in your shoebox? Tell me about it.

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