Gregory H. Hill
Many people collect stamps. Some people collect coins, a few collect antique bottles, others shoe laces, bottle caps, yellow pencils, and endless array of miscellaneous items worth absolutely nothing (except, of course, to those who ardently collect them).
I collect belly-button lint.
Before you put this down and go back to your television, read on. It really is quite a fascinating hobby–if you like that sort of thing. Honest!–it is! Well… maybe, but it’s still fascinating. Why, believe it or not, I’ve belly-button lints from all over the world: Spain, France, China, Canada, even USSR. Indeed, I even have lints from some very famous people, too. One of my most valuable is a small wad of plaid lint from an eccentric Scotch clan-leader over 300 years old (the lint, not the man). My favorite is a piece of red lint from Khrushchev’s great gram-pa. I received that one just before I was lucky enough to possess a hunk of green lint from an old Irishman (drunken) I met one night in the gutter facing Barney’s Bar and Grill. Another priceless possession of mine is a pillow stuffed with lint of all shapes, sizes and colors from just plain people.
A novice just can’t realize the thrill and joy obtained from the experience of discovering a piece of belly-button lint once proudly worn by General George Washington just before he met Martha.
All in all, I have about 23,000 different specimens, ranging from one st up to and including a ball almost one and one half inches across, fished from King Farouk’s bath tub. These, I keep mounted in glass covered wall plaques starting in the entrance hall of my home, going through the living room, dining room, through my den and ending in my bedroom. The less interesting ones I keep in my wife’s bedroom (she’s a very understanding woman) and the poor ones I keep in a box in the garage. As soon as it gets about another 7 pounds in it, I think I’ll stuff a mattress.
As far as practical uses, I have already mentioned pillows and mattresses. Well, there is an infinite source of objects that lints can be substituted for if you have a practical mind. Some of my friends are soaking them in formaldehyde and using them as moth balls. Do you have noisy neighbors? Why, just stuff some in your ears and eliminate the noise (or better yet, send a box them next door and eliminate the neighbors). Actually, you can do almost anything with this wondrous material if you have the imagination &/or the nerve.
However, I think I should warn you about using lints for practical purposes instead of keeping them. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats the grandeur of collecting–especially collecting such an important item as belly-button lint. What could be more satisfying than surprising your house guests by showing them a mounted board or row of glass cases containing hundreds of lints! Doesn’t it sound wonderful!!! It is almost a sure bet that they will never bother you again.
Now that I have undoubtedly sold you completely on the art of collecting belly-button lints, your first reaction is probably: where would an ordinary person like yourself obtain old and rare lints?
Damn good question.