My studio is located at the end of a street lined with decaying shotgun shacks and row houses. One of my neighbors filled his house with a collection of other people's trash until he could no longer close the front door and three of the windows. This did not slow his accumulation of discarded televisions, encyclopedias, wire, broken video tapes, telephones, candy bar wrappers or broken pieces of asphalt shingle.

The floor in his living room had started to bow under the stress of his collection leaving at least 4 inches of vertical climb from the center of the room to any of the walls.

He is grateful for the housefire that has enabled him to continue collecting.

While most of us attach emotions to the objects that we posses, my neighbor understands that joy comes from the very act of collecting them. He has no use for them once they are in his house, and he does not gain any sense of status or accomplishment from telling people that he owns 49 televisions (the number I counted while foraging through a portion of the charred remains).

Many people pity my neighbor, and believe that he has nothing to show for his life and labors--yet he is unscathed by the loss of every possesion.