human behavior

New word: syllogomania

Posted in Habits & Manners, New Word by humanb on November 7, 2009

I don’t like shopping or the end result: the accumulation of stuff. I’ve got stuff, yeah, but not much. I used to fit all my stuff into my tiny rented room in Brooklyn.

If you ask most people in the world which nation most egregiously promotes materialism and the accumulation of stuff, they’d say “America, next question”. But when was the last time you bought something “made in the USA”?

I was leaving the underground area of the train station the other day, and noticed one of those cheap junk shops selling goods made in China. I had a bit of time to kill, so I asked myself if I needed anything. My self replied “No”.

So I went in.

The shop was an organized chaos of everything you didn’t know you needed, and the aisles were claustrophobically small so as to maximize the space to fit in the most stuff. And everything was cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

I wandered a bit with mild excitement at all the shopping possibilities – and I don’t even like shopping – until my eyes settled on this little gem. Behold the holy pig!

There are few things I love more than pottery, containers and holy pigs. Plus, I have a small foreign coin collection currently overflowing in a cardboard jewelry box. Okay, even my small collection wouldn’t fit in this pig, nor would I be able to play with the coins in this bank. It’s also dusty and unpleasant to touch. But it was $2.50, and isn’t it special?

Further wandering led me to this wonder of modern technology.



Well, there are few things that bother me more than the stubborn stain. I can’t be certain, but this cloth sounds like it’s the solution to a host of problems. I mean, it’s bloody omnipotent. Think of the possibilities. Anyway, it was only $1.50 and doesn’t it look handy?

Turning a corner, I found these little necessities.


Oh, dear. Here I have been using trick candles, candles that sing Happy Birthday, and candles in the shapes of numbers for birthday cakes, when what I really needed for my birthday cakes were birthday candles in the shape of birthday cakes. Glad I bought those. I mean, they were only $1.50, and aren’t they the perfect finishing touch?

A 180 degree turn to the opposite aisle and my eyes fell upon these little darlings.


Apparently these drinking game dice are “Not intended for use with alcohol” but are also not intended for persons below the drinking age. I’m still not sure for what I intended them. I certainly don’t need encouragement to have a drink. I think it must have occurred to me that if I ever stop living like a 90-year-old, I might have people over and we could play this stupid game. Still, they were only $2.00 and don’t they look fun?

But wait. On the same wall as my dice, I struck gold.


Mustache party!

Oh yeah. And I didn’t just buy one. I bought two. I suppose I was thinking my nieces (4 and 6 years old) might have fun with these; but then I decided I’d give them a packet to share and the other packet would stay with me. They would be a great addition to the party I’m never going to have, where we get plastered playing the dice drinking game while wearing mustaches. And I would be The Scoundrel. But look, the Mustache Parties were only $2.00 each, and aren’t they a hoot?

I spent $11.50 in that shop.

The sales lady was perfunctory in her duties but efficient – wrapping my holy pig in newspaper before depositing it with my other goods into a thin plastic bag – you know, those flimsy bags that look like they were used for something else before.  Then I had the distinct sense that I wasn’t needed in that shop anymore.

When I left, I felt hollow.

What happened in there?

I learned a new word this past week.

Syllogomania: the compulsive hoarding of rubbish

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding) is extreme hoarding behaviour in humans…. While there is no definition of compulsive hoarding in accepted diagnostic criteria, the defining features are: 1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value; 2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and 3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding. Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania.

Well I’m relieved to report that the holy pig has a home, where it does not clutter the house.


But where does one put her mustaches?

I suppose that’s the least of my problems.

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