According to Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux (in Greek, Kástōr and Polydeúkēs – Κάστωρ καὶ Πολυδεύκης) were the twin sons of Lēda and Zeus/Tyndareus, the brothers of Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra and the half-brothers of Timandra, Phoebe, Heracles and Philonoe.  In both languages Castor means “beaver” and “polydeukes means "much sweet wine".  To put a classical spin on what was obviously an issue worthy of intervention, I’ll say here and now that my mother shopped like a drunken beaver.


For, after shopping trips, items would strangely enter the house in twos. The theory was that when a beloved item wore out, its brand new twin would be waiting in the closet ready to be worn.  The reality was that most of the items purchased were of such durability and quality that they never needed to be replaced.

Time passed, and I inherited the fruits of my mother’s shopping labors, with the result that my storage closet is populated in much the same way as Noah’s Ark.  Two Mulberry mackintoshes rub shoulders with two nubby, marled sweaters from Joseph, while nearby a couple of oversized Mulberry duffle coats ponder their fate.  They’re not necessarily unloved, but their overwhelming same-ness tends to make them unworn.

For an enthusiastic shopper, it’s a classical cautionary tale.