DON'T THROW IT AWAY! For GOD'S SAKE, that broken dime-store corn-cob pipe could be jammed into the styrofoam mouth of a coffee-can Cossack doll!

Several potent strains in American society combined to make this tome possible. The strongest was “tolerance,” since the workmen who delivered it to bookstores were not chased into the parking lot with bats and set on fire. No, when books like this came out, we dealt. We sucked it up.

Other strains detectable in “Don’t Throw it Away”:

1. The “Back to nature” nonsense of the 60s, which manifested itself in nostalgia for the simpler days of yore, when Butch Cassidy rode around on a bike to the sound of a B. J. Thomas record. The good old days, when 47% of your adult life was spent working a butter churner.

2 The growing fear that the economy was going to crater for good any day now, and you’d best get a head start on learning how to make your own furniture. For that matter, we’re going to run out of oil, so you’d better learn how to knit a horse.

3. And finally, the complete and utter collapse of taste. In another era these items would have been a symbol of shame. In the Seventies they thrived. Everyone knew someone whose mom was into this crap, and stuffed the house with home-made bric-a-brac that just looked stupid and weird. Owls were often involved. Owls made out of pipecleaners and elbow macaroni.