Monsters for Sale

by Vicki Nunn

I love a good garage sale, and when I say good, I don’t mean the ones with the dirty second-hand clothes or those where the items are marked like it’s an exclusive speciality store. I refer to the ones where items are reasonably priced and aren’t just a bunch of junk that should be taken to the tip and immediately buried or placed under quarantine.

There’s an artist by the name of Tom Zarrilli who has created artwork out of things that he found in garage sales. I can’t imagine making anything interesting out of a collection of Tupperware, cutlery and a collection of 1964 Reader’s Digests, but perhaps he’s more creative (or is he just much stranger) than me.

Have you heard about the 127 Corridor? It’s claimed to be the world’s longest yard-sale and stretches for a staggering 1,052km (654 miles) in The USA. Thousands of people sell their item all along the corridor. They’ve even started something similar in Australia: the “Garage Sale Trail” where communities or suburbs are encouraged to put on a huge garage sale on one particular day of the year.

Frankly I’d like to be the person who purchased some old glass negatives for $45 from a garage sale which later turned out to be worth more than $200 million. Rick Norsigian thought they might be reasonably valuable when he spotted them, but I’m sure he was blown away when it was discovered they were the long lost negatives of the artist Ansel Adams. If I ever purchased something for $45 from a garage sale, I’m sure I’d find out later that it was more likely worth only $5.

One garage sale I would love to have attended was the one held a few years ago with the Melbourne Theatre Company. Can you imagine what kind of interesting things they’d have had for sale: outlandish costumes, scenery, and some amazing props? I understand they even had a blue rickshaw up for grabs. I ask you, how many opportunities do you have in this lifetime to purchase a rickshaw, let alone a blue one?

What gets me though is the different names people have for garage sales:

  • yard sale: do they charge by the square yard?

  • car boot sale: why would you need a spare car boot?

  • flea market: I can always ask my dog if he can spare a few extra fleas.

  • jumble sale: shouldn’t that be jbulme sale?

I know it’s childish of me, but I can’t help giggling when I see signs for a “Monster Garage Sale.” Part of me tries to imagine what kind of monsters they might be trying to sell or what kind of people would want to purchase a monster in the first place. Hopefully they’ve considered some important questions such as:

  • How would they tie up a monster? Would they use manacles? Or would that be ‘monstacles?’

  • What would they feed it? Toddlers? Leeches and scream? Ghoulash?

  • What if gets sick and loses its tail or its fur? Perhaps they’d need to ‘refurnish’ it or take it to the ‘retailers.’

  • If it got a sore throat, would they need to give it medicine for gargoyling?

  • What kind of exercise would they give it? Fetch the postman? Squash? Or would they take it to the football match and let it be the ghoulie?

I don’t want to even imagine what’s required to clean up after a monster when it goes to the toilet.

And to finish, need I remind you that you should never, EVER pet your monster on a Chewsday