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Olympic Stadium 10K Run

We all have stuff. George Carlin did a whole routine about “stuff.” We have stuff we want, stuff we don’t want, and stuff we need.

We collect stuff. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are collecting stuff — it seemingly just happens. We fill our closets, cupboards, bookcases, and garages with stuff. Then when those areas are full of stuff, we rent a storage space to fill with our stuff.

Mark Ferrell's Boy Scout BackpackBugs Bunny Collector's Glass 1972

What kind of stuff do we collect? T-shirts, ticket stubs, stuffed animals, decals, figurines, business cards, name tags, bottles, notes, greeting cards, dishes, toys, posters, records, keys … an amazing array and variety of stuff.

The younger we are, the less stuff we have. Because we haven’t had a long time to collect stuff. The older we are, the more likely we are to have collected a lifetime of stuff. And more often than not, it’s stuff we don’t need. But it’s stuff we want. And we want some of that stuff for absolutely no rational reason whatsoever. Some stuff is super hard to let go of.

Mark K Ferrell Associated Student President

One day, we discover that we can’t keep all of our stuff. That can be an abrupt realization. So we set about the task of “purging” our stuff.

“Purging” is a grueling exercise of sorting through years and years and years of stuff. It’s a slow, thoughtful process. It can be somewhat methodical, but it always brings us back to a time and place with someone. Music, smells, and feelings are brought back the instant you touch certain stuff. Memories are thick.

Voyager Flight Commemorative SweatshirtDisneyland's America On Parade T-shirt

Sometimes it’s our own stuff we purge. Sometimes it’s our parents’ stuff. Either can be happy and sad simultaneously.

I suddenly realized a few days ago (I know, I’m a bit slow) that it’s not the “stuff” that matters. It’s the fond memories that the “stuff” conjures. It is the love that is represented by the stuff.

So recently while I was at my Mom’s bedside suffering with her, being scared with her, nothing else really mattered. Everything was stripped away, except love.

When it comes down to what’s important in life, we come to realize that “stuff” only serves to remind us of wonderful times we shared with people we love. And in the end, love and time is all we ever really have.

I love you Mama.

My MamaMy Mama Celebrates Her 80th Birthday

3 Responses to Stuff

  1. Ed Spencer July 10 at 4:12 AM #

    “…love and time is all we ever really have.”

    Truer words are rarely spoken.

    Mark, I hope your mother is doing better… the stuff can wait – it’s the people in our lives that matter most.

  2. Mitch Taylor July 10 at 10:34 PM #


    Thoughts are with you during this hard time. Your Mother is proud knowing the positive impact her son has made on the world. You’ve affected real change in peoples lives and made the world a better place. That is all a Mother can ask for of her son. Enjoy the memories and L-O-V-E.

  3. Mark Ferrell July 15 at 5:59 AM #

    Thank you, gentlemen.

    Today is a really hard day.

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