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All My Life for Sale


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About the Author

John Freyer was born in Syracuse, New York, and is the fifth of seven children. After graduating from Hamilton College with a degree in political science, Freyer co-founded Wind-up Films, an action-sports film production company. He has been a snowboard instructor, a cinematographer, and a graphic designer. He is currently a Bodine Fellow in the School of Art and Art History at the Univesity of Iowa and lives in Iowa City.


When Gen-Xer Freyer decided he owned too much stuff, he invited friends over to tag anything they thought was "representative of [his] life in Iowa City" to be auctioned on eBay. He sold over 600 items and made several thousand dollars on the project, but one can't help thinking he had this book, which features pictures and descriptions of the objects, plus updates on where they landed, in mind from the get-go. The volume is a great conversation piece, or at least a compelling record of what alterna-kids thought was cool in the late 20th century, and Freyer's descriptions are quirky and faux-philosophical. Highlights include a box of Girl Scout cookies sold to someone in Mumbles, Swansea, U.K., Mexican chewing gum that went from Freyer's "weird food item" drawer to a wall display in Mitcham Junction, England, and Freyer's sideburns, which the new owner tried to donate to the Pittsburgh Museum of Art. Freyer's place in the world reveals itself through such amusing vignettes: there was the half-bottle of mouthwash no one bid on "no matter how many times I listed the item," and the annoyance of a friend when he sold her dad's ski hat. Items' new lives are priceless: a woman from Dallas, Texas, buys a white toy Cadillac and sends Freyer a still from the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination that has the car superimposed in, while someone from the New York Times buys a Freyer shirt and then includes the sale in a book he writes about eBay. Of the latter, Freyer wonders, "Could my shirt be considered a legitimate business expense on his taxes?" Color photographs throughout. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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