special agent.

Yard sales have been pretty uninspiring as of late. I've missed several weekends from being out of town, but on the weekends when I was around, it seems like there were very few sales. On those days, I usually end up hitting thrift stores instead. After all, my house is not going to fill itself with junk!

Yesterday's ad listings were similarly slim, but a couple of church sales had me hopeful that it might be a good day. It only takes one good sale to make the whole day worth it. There may have been one good sale yesterday, but I didn't go to it.

But at my last stop, I happened across a brass plaque sitting with a bunch of scrap metal. It was about a foot high, shaped like a badge, and had the following lines inscribed:

Special Agent
Office of Special Investigations
Department of the Air Force
United States of America
The Inspector General

I thought it was pretty cool. I guess "Special Agent" is sufficiently vague that it could mean anything, like being seven and the teacher asking you to be her special helper for the day. I asked the guy manning the sale where it had come from. He said that the sale was for a guy who had Parkinson's and was being moved to a nursing home. He also said that the guy had been some kind of government agent. He didn't seem to know very many specifics, which was odd to me. If he didn't know the old guy, why was he running his estate sale?

Then he said he wasn't sure if the plaque was for sale. Since it was brass, they had been planning on taking it to a scrap yard to see what they would get for it. But he went off to ask someone else what he might ask for it.

He came back and said $10, and I felt like that was just too much. I mean, I liked it. It was cool, but $10 was more than I usually paid for something to just hang on the wall. I said no thanks, then headed back to the car.

I felt kinda bad that this old guy's house was being cleaned out and sold by people who didn't seem to know or care much about him. And if the people who are clearing out your home don't care about you, who does? Who will save your awesome brass plaque from the scrap heap so that your whole career is not melted down and forgotten?
I guess the best you can hope for is that some strange lady with eccentric tastes in decor will come along and claim her own heirloom.

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