Thrift stores are a great representation of the human id. They’re chaotic, kitschy and filled with things that straddle the line between “trash” and “treasure.” For this monthly feature, we will head out to Madison-area shops in search of both.
Location: Goodwill Madison Northside, 2901 N. Sherman Ave.
Date: Aug. 7, 2019
Our first stop is a matter of convenience: this Goodwill store is literally across the street from my apartment. I’ve been here many times and it’s usually a reliable source of noteworthy junk. My greatest all-time find is a Homer Simpson ceramic figurine that unfortunately lost its head recently in a tragic bathroom cleaning accident. I miss it dearly, but I’ve now replaced it with something even stranger. We’ll get to that shortly.
Talking dolphin cookie jar
Like my beloved Homie, the head was detached from this poor sea mammal’s body. But perhaps more importantly, it still made dolphin sounds when you opened it. I’m not sure how to write out the sound a dolphin makes — but if you’ve seen the Discovery Channel, you know what I’m talking about.
You’ve heard about “Florida Man.” Now, there’s “Florida clock.” It reminds me of my high school band trip to Orlando when I had to suffer through the worst sunburn of my life on a 20-hour bus ride. The clock wasn’t telling time when I found it, but it seemed to be in good enough shape that with some new batteries it should work fine. That is, if you can get by the actual clock part being flipped upside down. Go home, Florida clock. You’re drunk.
Fish stuff is a staple of midwestern decorating. And honestly, these bookends are actually kind of dope. I would have bought them if I didn’t live in a tiny apartment that barely fits two people and a cat. Hopefully someone can give them a nice wood-paneled basement to live in.
JFK decorative plate
There’s no telling what good John F. Kennedy would have done for this country had his life not been tragically cut short. So what better way to remember the 35th president than with this decorative plate? It’s a lifetime of public service all wrapped up in a few inches of ceramics. I bought this one, btw. How could I not? He was, after all, a hyper-charismatic telepathic knight.
Price: $1.99 (an absolute steal)
Whatever the fuck this is
Clearly, this is some heinous playtime experiment that makes Sid from Toy Story look well-adjusted. It’s a Rock ’Em, Sock ’Em Robot imprisoned in a Little Live Pets cage. My guess is that it accidentally killed the blue robot in an especially tense boxing match. Or it’s an innocent toy, wrongfully locked up for a crime it didn’t commit. We may never know.
‘The Matrix’ by Jonathan Aycliffe
KID: “Mom, can we get The Matrix?”
MOM: “We have The Matrix at home.”
THE MATRIX AT HOME:
Just a bin full of adult diapers
Exactly what it sounds like.
Stitched panda art
A recurring theme of this Goodwill excursion is “weird animal stuff.” Accordingly, they had this stitched portrait of two panda bears available for purchase. It’s very big, so if you have the wall space to spare you may want to invest.
‘Melodies of Love’ by Lenny Dee
According to Discogs, Melodies of Love is a collection of organ covers. It includes two songs written by Kris Kristofferson, which I guess is pretty cool. But unlike that ogre, Lenny Dee exudes raw, animalistic sexuality. I had to take a cold shower after holding this album for too long. I mean, just look at that face. Daddy likey.
I don’t know if this is a fun fact or deeply embarrassing, but I actually have this same lamp, albeit in a different color. Mine is a gray koala, and I got it years ago with the intention of giving it as a white elephant gift. But until that day comes, it will live in my storage unit. Now you too can be prepared for your next gag gift.
Greatest bread paddle ever
I didn’t see this beauty until I was on my way out the door, as they had it positioned behind the checkouts. It’s just a bread paddle, but it also says “better breadless than headless.” I could see that being a slogan for a straight-edge hardcore band formed by people with celiac disease. I regret not buying it and hope it’s still there the next time I stop in. Grain free or die.
In total, this was a pretty average trip to Goodwill. Yeah, there was some weird stuff — mostly animal-related — but thankfully not enough that I ended up spending a bunch of money. And looking at my new-old JFK plate, I can’t help thinking it was successful.