Somewhere in the far future, an archaeologist (perhaps of an alien species, perhaps some advanced Terran lifeform), will be examining the contents of a midden from what we now call the 21st century. Sifting through the dirt and potsherds, amongst the pieces of glass and immortal plastic, will be several articles of clothing. The future archaeologist will examine these articles of clothing and determine that they were for a well-to-do individual, probably a child or adolescent, but too small compared to the average size for humans of that era. After much thought they might conclude that perhaps due to some virus there was a sub-population of humans living at one fifth the scale of other humans of that time.

Of course what we know – and the archaeologist doesn’t – is that these clothes were not intended for humans, but instead were for American Girl dolls. Those ubiquitous, and surprisingly expensive, toys feel like they’re increasing at a rate that in no timewill ensure they will appear to be the dominant life-form to future observers. And if not in their actual numbers, then in the sheer weight of belongings they will leave behind. Specifically the sheer weight of belongings they have left all around my house.