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My Life in Lint

Today is wash day.  Shucking off the pants I’ve worn today, I begin taking out my normal everyday carry.  Keys, phone, wallet, pocket knife, change from lunch, chapstick, and a buckeye (for luck) are laid out on my side table. Among the items, I notice there’s a small piece of lint. 

I have never given much attention to the lint from my pockets over the years.  It’s a sadly shaped lump of cloth fibers, bits of paper, a few cat hairs and other detritus all rolled into a grayish-blue wad. The embedded cat hair bursts from its surface like solar flares from a violent sun.  

I think about keeping it.  There’s lots of uses for lint.  I could put it in my garden for composting.  Maybe I’ll save it, put it in a plastic bag for use as tinder to start my campfires or use it to seal a particularly bad gash in wound.  I could play CSI and pick apart the various bits and see what my lint is made of and figure out just where I’ve been.  

As they say, this gets me to thinking about my life, strange as it seems.

Just as our body sheds dead cells, so do the things taking up residence in our pockets make up the tiny fragments of lint.  Each piece with its own individuality and character and no two alike in any way.

So, just what is in my lint? Here’s what I found.

  • The corner of a photograph of my family, who I never tell how much I do love them.
  • A dandelion floret from a dandelion, I picked to blow upon wishing one of many desires to come true.
  • The hair from my cat, who minute by minute, passes judgement on my activities, yet still invites itself to nap in my lap.
  • Those tiny slivers of metal from my keys, opening the front door to dinner cooking and the sounds of home.

Lint is the stuff of our daily lives.  Like the human body, lint is truly a most exquisitely designed organic object.  It is me.  It’s you and everyone else around us.  Our strengths, our frailties, hopes and dreams all coalesced into a tiny scrap of matter that we think doesn’t matter.  And what do we do with it, once we’ve picked it from our pockets or the filter from the dryer?  It’s tossed aside without thought, without examination.

At some point, we’ve all viewed some crime show, where a forensics team scrapes microscopic bits of debris from underneath fingernails and tweeze lint from our clothing to dissect and analyze how our fate was sealed.

If my body were found lying in a creek in some remote area (and I most certainly hope it never is), what would the lint in my pocket say?  Would it tell of a person who lived a rich life full of adventure and romance? Or would it speak of banality, a life considered never worth living?

What’s in your lint?

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