Wolten won a ceramic cow at the Puyallup Fair by throwing a hoop over a milk bottle. He had wanted the large stuffed bear, but that required three winning hoop tosses. What was he going to do with a ceramic cow? Well, when it came down to it, he was going to do the same thing he would have done with the stuffed bear. Put it in his apartment next to the orange bowling ball.

Wolten was still in “stuff collection mode.” Since he was young and had recently moved into his own place, he didn’t have a lot of possessions. So anything he acquired became decoration. The obligatory beer bottles and oddly shaped liquor bottles, of course, but also an Afro Celt Sound System T-shirt (from before they shortened it to Afrocelts) tacked onto the wall, a mate-less clown shoe visible in the glass-fronted kitchen cabinet, a set of Bullwinkle horns positioned at the end of the kitchen table, a Sponge Bob Squarepants beach towel serving as a curtain, and a crushed cardboard box with a “do not crush” stamp in a special place of honor on the concrete block/two-by-four shelf.

The place was still fairly empty. Someday he would have plenty of stuff and he would be more selective about what he kept and what he didn’t. But for now—he looked around with satisfaction—he was doing pretty good for having gotten most of it for free.

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