The Mess I’m In

Coping with kipple.

  1. As a malformed Grey Gardens sort of bachelor, I have only one fork, but, unfortunately, this one fork has gone missing in the strange coral reef that passes for my apartment. And I describe my apartment as a coral reef, as opposed to the ever-thickening nest of a hoarder, because I don’t suffer from hoarding, per se. I am at the mercy of another phenomenon—a kind of metaphysical cousin to hoarding—known as kipple.

    The effect has been to turn my smallish Brooklyn apartment, where I’ve lived for 12 years, into some kind of above-sea-level reef where things attach and occasionally break off, but mostly they attach, accrue, accumulate, affix, amass and asphyxiate. And in such a reef, things can easily go missing, like my lone fork. Luckily, being of a somewhat infantile nature, I don’t mind eating with a spoon, of which I have three.

    So, what is kipple, and why did it cause me to lose my fork? I learned about kipple from the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Here is an exchange between a man named J. R. Isidore and a character named Pris Stratton.

    This building, except for my apartment, is completely kipple-ized.

    “Kipple-ized?” She did not comprehend.

    Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers. ... When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always ...

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