The 7 Most Horrifying Things Found in the Homes of 'Hoarders'
The A&E series Hoarders is pretty much the most fascinating reality show ever, and I am including Flavor of Love. Thanks to reality TV, this destructive psychological problem is probably the easiest way to get on TV without expending a single calorie of energy. I viewed every episode of the show, taking careful notes and compiled the following seven tips for becoming a TV famous hoarder, which also happen to double as the most disturbing things ever found on the series. On their own each of these elements would pass muster in a previous episode. But if you can pull off all seven at once then you just may convince A&E to call the authorities on you for your own good and shame every potential future participant back into their horribly unsafe hovel.
Mummify a Cat
"Who's an adorable little man? You are!"
If you're a pet lover this may be a tough pill to swallow. After all, very few of us ever think if that cat pees on my shoe tree again, I'm totally going to mummify him and that's probably 70 percent due to the lack of general mummification knowledge that pervades modern society.
Still, on more than one episode of Hoarders, a household all decked out in cats has had a crew come in to clean up and lo and behold there's a veritable cornucopia of decrepit, dusty cat mummies lurking about. And by lurking I mean remaining quite stationary and desiccated. This is what compelling TV is made of.
Like this, only more god awful in ever conceivable way
Have you ever left a cheese sandwich sitting in the fridge for like a week? And it starts to smell vaguely of old-man-at-the-gym groin in a way that makes you grimace every time you open the fridge? Now imagine instead of a cheese sandwich is a dead beast and it's not kept at 38 F, it's rotting under your futon. That's the level of commitment you need to be on Hoarders. You could just leave 1000 boxes of shit all over your house, but really, is that going to make the same kind of impression in anyone's mind that neglecting an animal until it not only dies but is thoroughly sapped of moisture while it remains in your living area will? No. You need a mummified cat.
Feasibility: I don't have a cat handy, but I do have a two-pound chihuahua named Mojo, and that's like 2/3s of a mummified cat right there. As near as I can tell, if I want him mummified I either have to wrap him in bandages or pack him in salt or some kind of spice medley, neither of which he will sit still for. I opt to try the first solution.
Pictured: Not a mummy
Results: Failure. You can wrap a small dog repeatedly in all manner of things, but he will still use his small, raptor-like legs to claw free. His staunch refusal to be mummified is both admirable and disheartening.
Related: 5 Ways to Improve Cats
Bury the Toilet in Feces
You should never do a Google search for "toilet" and "poop."
This is a good one because it's very counter-intuitive. You'd think a nutter with shit issues would just let loose all over the house, and if they were going to use the toilet, then probably they'd at least flush. Oh man, are you ever wrong.
Time and again, Hoarders shows us that people are willing to make the effort to climb over towers of unsafe rubble like goblins in that shanty-town in Labyrinth, just to make it to the shitter, and then inexplicably give up once they reach their goal. More than one washroom was caked in layers of used toilet paper and deuce that required dudes in gas masks equipped with shovels to clean out. Can you shit entire shovelfuls on your own bathroom floor? A&E accepts no less.
Next week, Gene Simmons tries to bone her in an episode of Family Jewels.
Feasibility: This is another sticky wicket as I don't live alone. Sure I could start building my own mud kingdom, but it's going to make my roommates super pissed. Or is it?
Results: Failure. I attempted to test the waters by simply not flushing for a few days straight, leading to repeated cries of who's the asshole who didn't flush? Naturally I refused to take ownership and my efforts got flushed time and again until finally someone entered the room directly after me and caught me in the act. I received a punch in the gut for my troubles and assurances I can be kicked off the lease.
This one makes me feel horribly unsafe, as more than one episode has featured older men who simply left an abundance of loaded weapons lying around the house under massive piles of shit. But that fear for one's personal safety needs to be exploited. Imagine how terrified you'd make the audience if a crew showed up and you just had ninja stars and land mines sitting in old banana boxes piled to the ceiling. That's entertainment.
Any visibly unsafe situation brought on by heaps of clothing, old newspapers and floor-to-ceiling rat towers becomes exponentially more horrifying and fantastic (henceforth to be known as hortastic) when there's a loaded 12-gauge or two jammed in the center of it all.
Feasibility: I don't own any guns.
Results: Success! Not one to rest of my laurels (the government repossessed my laurels) I figure the next best thing I can do is lace my home with illegal fireworks. I may not have guns but you better believe I have illegal fireworks. A couple under the sofa, one in the toilet tank, another in the crisper and my home is suddenly poised on the precipice of bursting into a symphony of lights and scorched walls with one errant cigarette ash.
Pick An Obscure Obsession
This one lets your creative side shine. Sure, anyone can be a hoarder, but what kind of hoarder will you be? You could just collect every goddamn thing, but who cares about that? By the fourth season, A&E is going to be telling the people who just live in regular filth to man up and deal with it. They're going to be focused on people who hoard gerbils, migrant workers and velvet paintings. That shit is weird.
Feasibility: Pfft, I got this. Where to begin? I already have an impressive anthology of depraved images scoured from the dankest corners of the Internet on my computer, but that's virtual hoarding. No doubt the transition to real hoarding is a fairly simple one. Plus I totally already have 12 collectible Star Wars: Episode One cups from a Taco Bell promotion back in the day, and like six Batman ones. That'll teach people to tell me I'm not mentally unstable enough for television.
Results: Success? After taking three hours out of my day to go to a pawn shop and several second-hand stores, plus one super-profitable visit to eBay, I now own 29 Nute Gunray cups and 13 Mace Windus. Fuck yeah!
This awesomeness even makes the foul stank of Mountain Dew taste sweet.
On the downside, I am unable to find an accurate definition of a hoard anywhere online to determine how many I need to officially be hoarding anything. Regardless, that's a hell of a lot of Nute Gunray.
Shop At Home
The best hoarders all seem to agree that the best way to achieve insanely dangerous living conditions is by constructing what seems to be a family-destroying shrine to Billy Mays. Many hoarders seem to just collect knick-knacks and never throw shit in the garbage so that it eventually piles to the rafters, but a few go-getters put in the extra effort to buy shit from HSN or infomercials to actually add excess pointlessness to the whole shebang. That's real dedication. Why simply never throw out clothes you've had since 1986 when you can do that, but also pile them on top of six Slap Chops?
Feasibility: For reasons best left unmentioned, I am no longer allowed to use credit cards. However, I do have PayPal and that's good enough for some of the less reputable websites out there. This one seems like a winner.
Results: Success! As I write this, I am in the most ungodly state of comfort in which I have ever been. Why? I'm wearing a Snuggie, yo. Earlier I cooked a corndog in my FlavorWave Turbo oven and it was easily as tasty as or tastier than Mr. T assured me it would be and later I plan to use Mighty Putty to pull a bus up a hill.
Eat Expired Food
It's true, some people are food hoarders but they tend to have freezers full of wheat germ or some shit that's just going to sit around forever and be odd in a bit of a roadside bearded lady sort of way but nothing to write home about. The ones you want to model yourself after are the ones with about five refrigerators chock full of food that went bad when Bush, Sr. was running the show. This is based entirely around rationale we can surely all get behind: If it isn't puffy yet, it's safe to put in your mouth.
Feasibility: I think I may have been unwittingly living this dream for a few months as I recently discovered after chewing some Five Alive that juice does, in fact, expire.
Results: Failure. Man, this is a blow to the ego. Eating expired food should be as easy as getting the cast of Jersey Shore to fail an IQ test. Despite this, when confronted with the single yogurt we've been inexplicably keeping at the back of the fridge since around Christmas '08, I find I do not have the testicular fortitude for any kind of follow through. It smells the way I imagine my corpse would smell if some one bludgeoned me to death with canned peaches and baby vomit.
Save Your Waste And/Or Hair
You may think burying the toilet in a slurry of well aged fecal matter is the be all and end all of human insanity, but that's not the case. Not when Mason and his wonderful jars are at hand. In the house of a boring hoarder, clean up crews throw out boxes of paperback books from the 1960s and old clock radios. The Ultimate Hoarder has a whole corner of the garage roped off to house labeled turd jars and bags of hair trimmings. In one episode, some dude even kept his dog's hair. His reason? Throwing it away would shorten the dog's life. Think about it.
Feasibility: Not being my grandmother or a madman, I don't own many mason jars, but I was given a really big box of knock-off Tupperware when I moved out on my own. They're dishwasher and microwave safe!
Burp it to seal in the freshness!
Results: Moderate Success. As the duration of this experiment didn't necessitate that I get a haircut, I was kind of already out on a limb with that aspect. To give it the old college try, I trimmed my sideburns into a Ziploc bag. It's on my dresser.
On the other end of the spectrum, the prospect of simply rolling out of bed and pissing into microwave bowls every morning, while appealing, is probably again going to raise the ire of my roommates. Plus, for reasons I can't explain, I'm intimidated by the idea of squatting over a small bowl and trying to poop in it. What if I miss? What if there's not enough room? What if I get a cramp and I stumble and the bowl actually gets lodged in my ass? I know for a fact that if I go to a hospital with a small microwaveable bowl jammed in my ass and say I slipped and fell on it, not a goddamn person will believe it.
I just can't commit to it. I'm weak.
Check out Robert Evans' A Brief History of Vice: How Bad Behavior Built Civilization, a celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time.