I Have Lots


If you’re reading this because you have this box in your hands
and are wondering what it’s all about, read on.

I hope you’ll drop me a line on the Contact Form on this blog to let me follow its progress and to record it here. There’s a code on the engraved plaque inside the box lid that you can use to verify your report. If the spirit moves you, launch your own surplus projects, large or small, and let me know about them if you like.

But first, the story . . .

What Was

Take it.

I make no move to reach for the shell in her outstretched hand. I had seen her picking up shells I didn’t recognize — lettered olives, it turned out — and asking about them led to her telling me how to search this beach and that led to me openly admiring the bigger shell in her bag. But now I’m horrified that she thinks I was fishing for it.

Five lettered olive shells.

Lettered olives

Take it. I have lots.

She insists, and so I leave a South Carolina beach with my first whelk.

What Is

Since that day in 2011, I’ve found my own whelks: bigger and prettier than that one, truth be told.

Five large and colourful whelk shells.

Knobbed whelks and channeled whelks

But that first one holds a special place in my heart because it was the first and because it was a gift from someone who had no reason beyond simple generosity to give it to me.

Take it. I have lots.

Well, and so do I have lots. And not just whelks.

Seth Godin covers a lot of ground in his wonderful blog, but this recent one really struck home.

If you have a safe place to sleep, reasonable health and food in the fridge, you’re probably living with surplus. You have enough breathing room to devote an hour to watching TV, or having an argument you don’t need to have, or simply messing around online. You have time and leverage and technology and trust. For many people, this surplus is bigger than any human on Earth could have imagined just a hundred years ago. What will you spend it on?

What Will Be

What will I spend my surplus (of money and time and stuff) on? Many things, I hope.

As a symbol of that effort, as a focal point for that commitment, this week I did what that woman on the beach did. I gave this shell to . . . someone. Someone for whom it might be the first such shell they’ve ever had. Not the biggest or the prettiest of its kind, you understand, but a special shell nonetheless.

Take it. I have lots.

I hope I passed it to someone who will love it. And to someone who will pass it on when the time is right: when they, too, have lots, whatever that means to them.

What Else

Check out the I Have Lots category for any updates on this initiative.