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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Florida man hoards documents, resists offers of help

The author imagines how a certain former president could use the help of a TV reality show. Photo: Getty Images

On tonight’s episode of  “Hoarders,” you will meet an elderly Florida man who can’t let go of boxes and boxes of paper documents.

“It’s all about the paper,” said “T,” who didn’t want to reveal his full name. “So much paper. All of it has been recently declassified by me. Because that’s how that works. I want it declassified so I go “Poof! You’re declassified!” and it’s done. Not many people know that.”

Later in the episode, certified hoarding consultant and licensed clinical social worker Brittney will join Mack and the team from Haulin’ Assets as they help “T” find a way to let go of the boxes and boxes of paper documents he has carefully transported to his Florida home from “the damp house with all the dead people pictures on the walls.”

Their faces etched in love and concern, Brittney and Mack sat down with “T” to get at the root of his paper hoarding problem.

“We always let the client touch every piece before they decide to let it go,” Brittney explained. “We set up three areas labeled KEEP, DONATE and TRASH. It’s important to honor the process. In “T’s” case, he will probably want to take a lot of time reviewing each document before letting it go. He did just ask “what is donate?” but I’m sure he was just confused.”

Mack sighed. “Look. I love my job because I love helping people. Some of these folks are drowning in their own hoard. Floor to ceiling boxes, old clothes…even garbage. If I had a dollar every time we found a fossilized cat under a recliner—boy howdy!—I’d be rich!”

Before the work can start, Mack is suddenly informed these documents will not be transported by his team after all.

“Hey, there are a bunch of windowless black vans pulling up. Not sure who these clowns are but they’re on my turf. Wait…where are you guys taking me?!?…Help!!!!”

Undaunted, Brittney helps T begin the arduous task of sorting through the documents. She worries they won’t be able to complete the work in the 48-hour time frame especially now that Mack seems to have been called away unexpectedly.

Stepping away, she confides to the cameras: “T wants to keep every single document just as I predicted. He hasn’t put a single item in the “trash” container. Usually this happens with half-empty pudding cups and weird doll babies still in their original boxes. Normally by this time, he would’ve already had a few loud arguments in his front yard with at least two female relatives with bra-strap issues but nobody in his family is even here…”

Mack returns to the scene now and pulls Brittney aside to tell her the FBI wants all the documents.

“I don’t care who they are; we respect our clients too much to dismiss their feelings!” she says as T plops down on a rusted chaise lounge missing most of its webbing that has mysteriously appeared on his front lawn.

“Lookit him, Mack,” she says. “It’s as if those files are all he has left in the whole world! I bet there’s nothing in there but a bunch of receipts from the tire store and his nana’s bread pudding recipe…”

“Uhhhhh, the G-men think these documents are highly classified and contain sensitive intelligence information.”

Brittney laughs loudly. “Ha! From that sweet ol’ thing? Spray tan? Ketchup-stained golf shirt? He’s not hurting anybody! Classified documents! Pardon my French, Mack, but my aunt Fanny!”

Suddenly, T summons the cameras so he can make a statement.

“Those men in those black vans actually brought these boxes in and left them here. They were PLANTED.”

Brittney shakes her head sadly. “So pitiful. Mack, let’s go inside and move a few recliners. You know why.”

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

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Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Florida man hoards documents, resists offers of help