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I was screwing around in Barnes & Noble with some friends near the end of the summer leading to college. I was joking about this or a similar list of things to do with AOL CDs, and an employee overheard me wondering if I could run out with a box. "Just go ahead and take 'em. We get paid for putting them out, so it's not like we care. We usually throw them around the store at night anyways."

I grabbed up several boxes - free stuff is always cool - and left, figuring that maybe not all employees there would agree with this. After a brief period of trying to hock them on the street outside with no success, I took them home over the loud objections from my friends of their uselessness. See, I had a Clever Plan.

Having heard about someone who used excess music CDs as wallpaper, I figured the hundreds of free AOL CDs could be better used to decorate my dorm, label side down of course. Since I drove to college, bringing them along was not a problem.

Putting them up was. My room was cozy yet spacious, but most unfortunately a double. While my roommate was a cool guy (except sometimes when drunk - then I wanted to perform medical experiments on him), this meant there was very few places to put the CDs. Finally, I decided on my bedshelf, a five foot high space for a mattress, pillows, blankets, me and not much else. Beyond being physically dangerous in the morning (Falling off something's a good way to completely wake up), the bedshelf disappointed me in various ways, and caused some literal headaches once and twice when I attempted to surmount my problems.

When I had free time during the school week, I put up a line of CDs using bluetack, and then ran out of adhesive. It looked nice, especially when the sun or a laser pointer hit it, but somehow not what I imagined. I realized that if I extended the line down, I would rub the CDs off the wall in my sleep. Other potential sleeping situations would just be worse. So I reluctantly decided to wait on the project. Things dragged on, and shit happened. I showed that single line of CDs to a few people, but nowhere near as many as I had wished. And so when I stumbled around in a depressed state of mind preparing to go home, I ripped down only that one line of CDs.

So now it is summer, and I still have the box of CDs. Sitting in my room, they're an interesting reminder of college. But next year I have a single. And a real bed. And I'm driving to college again.

I think next year will be much different.