Sunday, July 3, 2016

What’s the Strangest Thing Anyone Has Ever Left on Your Porch?

This story goes back to when I still lived at home with my parents.  My Uncle bought a house in the same town as us and he had become a bit of local legend with my friends who hung out at the same bar as him. They had all adopted him as their own Uncle because he is pretty much the coolest mad-scientist bachelor you will ever meet.  He works as a chemist, but also runs his own eBay store to generate the income necessary to support all of his hobbies. Here is a list of my favorites:

  • Koi Pond
    • He had kaiju monster-sized fish in his pond that resulted in frequent battles with local raccoons .
  • Gemology 
    • Yes, with certification and shipments of pretty stones arriving at his doorstep.
    • He once ordered gems from Pakistan that came in a metal box wrapped in twine and burlap, with his address scrawled in serial-killer handwriting directly on the fabric.  How it didn’t get flagged as a potential explosive by the USPS, I will never know.  
  • Panning for Gold
    • He would have actual dirt shipped to his house from other parts of the country and pan for gold in his backyard, this both confused and fascinated his neighbor who thought he was finding nuggets in the NJ dirt. 
    • I have no idea what he does with the dirt when he’s done.
  • Hunting
    • We once ate quail that was approximately 80% metal because he used the wrong ammo. I don’t know how the birds didn’t just explode.
  • Amateur Waterway Restoration
    • His local pond had experienced a devastating incident that killed most of the aquatic wildlife.  He started researching what plants and animals could rebuild the ecosystem. Turns out, you can just have these things delivered to your door, no questions asked.
      • Side note: I’m pretty sure this is illegal, so don’t do it and don’t ask me for my Uncle’s name, I ain’t no snitch.
    • If you find an unusual species of catfish in some random rinky-dink pond in NJ, you know why. He even kept one in his fish tank until it got HUGE before he released it
  • Impulse Buys Late at Night

It’s that last bullet point that takes me to our story. My Uncle picked up this weird habit of ordering random shit off of home shopping channels and late-night infomercials. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he was probably stressed and couldn’t sleep. I swear sometimes he'd forget what he ordered until it showed up at his front door. One time he ordered this large, heavy, silver sword. Like a Conan the Barbarian broadsword, only it had snakes on the hilt. It was covered in fake jewels and paint that gave it this South Asian vibe. I’m not really clear on what the initial vision was for the sword: Starting a collection? Living room décor? Home defense?  He was never able to give a good explanation as to why this thing caught his eye.

This sword is exactly 1,000 x's better looking than the sword my Uncle bought.
Image via Pixabay     
Here’s a little backstory on me: Ever since I was little I loved swords, fencing, and the Princess Bride. This led to me picking up actual foil and epee fencing as a teen/young adult. This pastime did not lead to adventures and hijinks with a giant and a Spaniard, but it was something fun to do. I had been fencing for a few years by the time this regrettable purchase arrived in the mail. I imagine my Uncle's thought process went like this: "What am I going to do with this? I can't return it...I know! My niece fences, that involves swords, and this is a sword. Brilliant!”. So, he drives by, leaves it on the front steps, rings the doorbell, and runs away. Just leaves this awful, heavy sword in front of the house and flees like it was a bag of flaming dog poop.

My father was the one to discover it leaning against the house and automatically assumed it was something of mine and brought it inside.  After some investigating, my mother eventually unveiled who the culprit was.  My Uncle said it was a “gift” and so, they brought the quasi-weapon into my bedroom because, apparently, my parents either don't ask a lot of questions or trusted me implicitly as a teen. The sword eventually became a talking point for visitors; it wasn't really balanced at all and had an awkward shape, so it couldn't even be good for theatrical use and it was too heavy/ugly to hang on the wall. So, I propped it up in a corner and there it sat for years, only occasionally being picked up to be dusted off or handled by a curious friend.

One day, it fell over onto the carpeted floor and one of the snakes snapped off. The inside of the hilt looked like it was full of tiny air pockets, there were little bubbles scattered throughout the metal, so I guess it was pretty low quality (shocking, I know). There was no clear way to repair it and, honestly, I didn’t really want it in my room anymore. So, I tasked my father with disposing of it properly because I am pretty sure you don’t just stick broken swords in the trash bin. The guys at the recycling center in town had a FIELD DAY when it was dropped off, I’m fairly certain they battled each other with it and one of them may have kept it. I guess, one man’s unwanted late-night purchase, is another man’s treasure.

#koi #gemology #paydirt #gold #impulse #buys #swords  #home #shopping


  1. A friend I had once been close with but grew apart from left six Ball jars of fermenting sauerkraut in a cardboard box on my porch with a note that also offered a free in home massage. My husband didn't appreciate his offer.

    1. The sauerkraut alone is strange enough, but is still something you can kind of explain away. The massage offer however would raise my eyebrows for sure! What did you do? Did you ever address it with your friend?


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