Thursday, July 20, 2006


One of the things I've missed here in Cambridge is the bulletin board in my office in Madison. While others might use their bulletin boards for "project tracking" or reminders, I use mine for mementos.* The last thing I added to it was the "jeremy." sign from my impromptu-pseudo-sub-half-marathon. Last time I was back, I actually typed in a list of the things on my bulletin board, which is now tacked on the bulletin board here at Cambridge but, as you'd expect, is somehow not the same. Anyway, not to imply you care, but here are twenty items from the list, each of which is special to me for its own reasons:

  1. Five birthday cards and the uncashed checks that had been enclosed.

  2. A nametag saying "Jeremy Freese" but everything else in Chinese

  3. A New Yorker cartoon of a man talking to a woman saying saying "I knew it wouldn't last--but I never dreamed it wouldn't last this long."

  4. A ticket for a trip to House on the Rock

  5. A handwritten menu from a truly amazing birthday dinner.

  6. A comic strip called "Marital Mirth" (A: "My wife spends too much on clothes." B: "Could be worse. My wife crushes my soul.")

  7. A ticket for a trip to the observation deck of the Space Needle in Seattle

  8. A small button with a cartoon dinosaur that says "God is Awesome"

  9. My pre-Lasix pair of glasses, tacked to the board with a paper clip

  10. A bumper sticker that says "Mentally Confused and Prone to Wandering"

  11. A thank-you letter from a television producer that refers to me as "Mozartian-like" in my delivery of a talk

  12. A ticket for a trip to Talesin (Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin home/workshop)

  13. A bright orange name tag saying "Jeremy Freese" and "SPAM: Social Psych and Microsoc"

  14. A flyer advertising Marble Magnets

  15. A thank-you note for a homily I delivered at a wedding

  16. A letter announcing that I have won an award from the American Sociological Association

  17. A Magic 8-Ball keychain

  18. A thank-you note from a colleague noting that I "bring out the mother in" her

  19. An uncashed check for "statistical consulting"

  20. A cartoon in which a girl and her boyfriend are standing outside on a starry night and she says, "When I look at all these stars, it's hard for me to believe that I'm really the center of the universe"

* At least those that are tackable. Other mementoes, such as the tube of "Tormentos" someone made for me when I was working on my dissertation and said I thought they should make a candy for people who "just want to curl up in a ball and be depressed with some mints," I keep on my bookshelves along with my Science Toys. My idea for a "Tormentos" commercial was that it would be just like the Mentos commercial where a car stops in the middle of the crosswalk and the sassy teenage pedestrian blocked by it crawls through the car's backseat to get across. Only instead of showing the kid smiling with the Mentos at the end, it would cut back to the driver, who would sit sadly reflecting on how he had become unadventurous and boring in his middle age, and then just burst out crying there in the intersection, pulling out his Tormentos to comfort him as he slumped in the frontseat sobbing while other cars honked behind him.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous will send a very nice birthday card along with a very, very large check, signed with real name at last! with the understanding that such generosity is forever displayed on that board!

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

This is a really cool, interesting post.

Lucy said...

I'm jealous that you've been to the House on the Rock. Have you read American Gods by Neil Gaiman? If not, perhaps you should.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Lucy: When I moved to Wisconsin, I selected my bank on the basis of their new checking account freebie: free passes to House on the Rock. I did so because I had read American Gods and was very excited at the prospect of actually seeing the place. I've been twice now; my favorite part is getting my fortune from Esmeralda the mechanical gypsy.

dorotha said...

I wonder how people feel if they know what is on your bulletin board and they know that it wasn't mentioned in this post and the reason they know that is because they shared the experience with you.

dorotha said...

I don't really care for American Gods, though I do have it on my bookshelf. I was actually thinking of selling it at my yard sale this weekend. I could send it to you, Jeremy

jeremy said...

I enjoyed my trip to House on the Rock, although I don't really understand why one would be compelled to go more than once.

jeremy said...

I haven't read American Gods, although I seem like the only one.

Teddy Love said...

I haven't even heard of American Gods ... but then again, I'm tragically uncool :) I will however be at the yard sale, so maybe there is hope for me yet.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Hello, mechanical gypsy. That's worth going back for.

Anyway, the place is so huge, I never feel like I'm taking it ALL in. And I like a little pilgrimage now and then.

jeremy said...

You can get a mechanical gypsy on E-Bay, if not at Dorotha's yard sale.

dorotha said...

no mechanical gypsy that i know of, but i will be selling an orange wig. i know RWS or teddylove could use an orange wig.

Tonya said...

That's a cool assortment of memorabilia. Thanks for sharing. Recently, when I decided to reminisce about college rather than attend my 20 year reunion, I looked through some boxes in the basement and found an old file containing the mementos from my college era bulletin board. It's funny how stuff like that still has so much emotional meaning even after so many years have passed.

Anonymous said...

I felt great anxiety when I visited The House on the Rock. There's just so much clutter.

Anonymous said...

I love that you still have the Tormentos. Makes me feel special.
I hope you never need to use them.

jeremy said...

The Tormentos rock. I've had people try to open them, but I've stopped them every time: "If you want to crawl in a black hole with some mints, you'll have to buy them yourself."

Fnarf said...

I've had that same "Marital Mirth" comic taped up over my desk for almost ten years!